The Lions and Stormers have had to overcome a number of hurdles in a stop-start United Rugby Championship campaign but they can finally focus on playing as they head into battle at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kickoff 5pm).
With a long break between their maiden EU and UK tour and then their home fixtures against foreign opposition being postponed, it has been a fractured build up, but the Lions are now completely focused on themselves.
“It is a challenge, but we have spoken about being adaptable around our preparation and mentality. All of these things are out of our control, so we are trying to focus on where we want to be as a team,” explained Lions assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher.
“We learnt a lot from that four week trip to the UK, we had to start from zero and work out a few things, but the energy in the squad has been unreal and the boys are looking forward to the challenge.
“As always with a South African team we know it’s all about physicality and it’s about dominance around your set piece, so we are looking forward to the game.”
The visitors know they face a stiff challenge against the Stormers and they will have to be at their very best if they want to try and take anything from the match.
“Looking at their results on tour they performed well and were unlucky with one or two results, so we know we’re in for a tough game against them. Their ball carries are strong, their defence is going to be a tough challenge for us on attack, but our job is to find answers,” admitted Loubscher.
For the Stormers, they are just happy to be back playing and they are gunning for a positive result to end their year on a high and to also claim crucial log points against local opposition.
“It is fantastic to be back, it has been a long time since we last played so I am really excited to play again,” said Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat. “There is a a great energy within the squad with it being the last game of the year and our first home match so we are looking forward to that.
“This game is really important for us in terms of the log points, it is a South African derby so it’s going to be massive. It is really important for us to get wins, but even more so against South African teams, and we know if we can get those wins we can create a points buffer.
“So we know the importance of this game and the importance of ending the year on a high, so this match is very crucial for our team.”