Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
7 Apr 2022
7:09 am

Lions brace for clash with Sharks forwards in URC encounter

Ross Roche

The Lions head into the match in terrific form, having won all four of their home matches against overseas opposition.

The Lions scrum down against Edinburgh in their recent URC match. Picture: Getty Images

A forward driven battle is on the cards when the Lions travel to Durban to take on the Sharks in their United Rugby Championship game at Kings Park on Saturday.

The team which gains ascendancy in this facet of play is likely to emerge victorious, with poor weather expected, leading to a big forward and kicking battle that should then be waged.

“We have been preparing well this week for that. We know what to expect against the Sharks. It looks like it’s going to rain and when that happens it becomes a forward dominant game,” explained Lions forwards coach Albert van den Berg.

“I think it’s going to be a massive forward battle, especially in the scrums, lineouts and mauls. Then they have the ability of their kicking game which they will add to that.

“So for us that’s where we are going to have to lay the foundation, in the scrums, the lineouts and the mauls. If we can counter them there and make sure we can take care of the kicks, then we are in with a shout.”

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The Lions head into the match in terrific form having won all four of their home matches against overseas opposition and they will be confident fronting up against the Sharks.

The Sharks won three of their four games against overseas sides, losing to Edinburgh two weeks ago before bouncing back with a thumping win over the Dragons this past weekend.

They will be keen to build on that result against the Lions, as they then face a tough run over their last three pool stage matches.

The Lions will, however, be eager to continue their impressive run after they struggled at the start of the year losing all four of their local derbies.

That included a match against the Sharks at Ellis Park, so the Lions will also be looking for a bit of revenge.

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“It’s a challenge for us to play well against the South African teams,” Van den Berg admitted.

“Against the overseas teams it’s almost a different mindset where you want to go and prove yourself against these guys that play for Scotland, Italy, Ireland and Wales and it’s almost like you lift that level because you are playing against internationals.

“But when you come up against South African teams it’s all about us and not about them. So sometimes we forget about ourselves and focus too much on how they play.”