The two best sides in the competition – the Lions U20 team and the Western Province U20s – will meet in what promises to be a hard-fought final of the SA Rugby U20 Cup at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon (kick-off at 1pm).
Both teams head into the final unbeaten after the Lions finished the pool stage top of the log with five wins and one draw, while WP finished second with four wins and two draws.
The Lions then hammered the Sharks U20 team 59-18, while WP thumped the Bulls U20s 42-17 in the two semi-finals, and both sides will carry plenty momentum into this weekend’s title decider.
“The mood is great. The guys are very excited to play and they are really looking forward to having fans back in the stadium,” said Lions U20 coach Wessel Roux.
“Preparation has gone well. Having the bye has worked out well for us in terms of a few guys getting over some knocks and bruises, and a number of the students have been writing exams, so the extra time to prepare has been good and we are ready.
“I am happy with the team’s performances so far. The semi-final performance was also good, even though we made a few mistakes and have things to work on, but we have built some good momentum going into the final.”
When the Lions and Province met in the pool stage the two sides couldn’t be separated, sharing the spoils (24-24) at Ellis Park, and one of the teams will have to give a little something extra if they are to come away with the win.
“Western Province are a great side. They have dangerous backs and forwards,” Roux admitted.
“They create good set-piece ball and have a good scrum, lineout and mauling game, while they also have a good kicking game, so it is a very balanced side.
“So it is going to be a difficult game but we are up for it.”
The Lions are also happy to have home ground advantage for the final, with fans allowed to watch the game, which should see a number of the players’ family members and friends at the stadium to cheer them on.
“It was our goal to get to the semis and then make the final, which we have achieved,” Roux said.
“I am also happy that the boys will be able to play in front of their families which is a great achievement for them.”