A big catfight is on the cards as the Lions and Cheetahs battle it out for Currie Cup supremacy at Ellis Park on Friday night (kick-off 7pm).
Both teams have a big point to prove, for completely different reasons, which could lead to an extremely entertaining encounter.
The Lions are still hunting their first win in the competition, with their young side struggling massively so far leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table, while they were hammered 66-14 in the two side’s first meeting in Bloemfontein in March.
With a host of United Rugby Championship reinforcements brought into the team for Friday night’s encounter, the Lions should be able to put in a much more competitive performance and will still be hungry to pick up that first win of the campaign.
“We don’t really have a point to prove. What we have to do is show up, put in a strong performance and try and get a win,” claimed Lions coach Mziwakhe Nkosi.
“Our preparation when we faced the Cheetahs last time wasn’t ideal. We had one or two guys come in the day before we left (for Bloemfontein), we had a couple of university players come into the team as well. So there have been times in the season where our preparation hasn’t been ideal.
“In terms of the Cheetahs match there is no real revenge, if that’s what we were focusing on we would have to be like that against every team and that’s not what this is about.
“What it is about is our young group and the group that has come down from the URC team to put together a quality performance and try go one better than the Griquas and win the game.”
This will be the Cheetahs first match since their hopes of featuring in a URC ‘B’ division was firmly dashed by URC CEO Martin Anayi last week, meaning their search for an international franchise competition goes on.
They will thus be eager to continue proving their worth in the Currie Cup and keep their unbeaten record intact by making a strong statement with another good win over the Lions.
The Cheetahs will also want to keep up the pressure on the Bulls, who currently top the log a point above them, with them having a chance to move back ahead of them at least until the Bulls play the Griquas on Saturday.
The other Currie Cup game to be played sees the third on the log Sharks taking on the fifth on the log Pumas in what should be a tightly contested match with the Sharks keen to preserve their spot on the log and the Pumas eager to move into the top four.