After losing their opening Currie Cup game at home to the Cheetahs, the Lions also lost their second away to the Sharks before getting their first win at Loftus when they hammered the Blue Bulls, but Minnie said the team have moved on from that.
“It doesn’t matter where you are sitting on the log, if you lose one game you are under pressure, it means you are one game down,” he stressed this week. And while Province have always found the going tough at Ellis Park, home town coach Johan Ackermann said the competition pace-setters have a lot of experience in their side.
“You just have to look at players like Pat Cilliers, De Kock Steenkamp, Deon Fourie and Gio Aplon, to realise they are a team who boast a lot of experience,” said Ackermann.
A significant change made by the Lions this week is the decision to start with veteran prop CJ van der Linde, middle, ahead of Jacques van Rooyen, where the home team could target the Province scrum after they were exposed by Griquas.
“I think CJ is must closer to match fitness now for him to start, and while Jacques has been growing with every game, CJ can also scrum on both sides, so it was a bit of a rotation call there,” said Ackermann.
The performance of flyhalf Elton Jantjies will be significant after coming under heaps of criticism during his sojourn in the Cape and he for one will have a lot to prove, while fullback Marnitz Boshoff’s deadly place-kicking will ease a lot of the pressure on the young Springbok.
Province’s approach of playing low risk rugby and pressuring teams into errors with their tenacity on defence will ask different questions of the Lions and for their sakes, one hopes they don’t still bask in the Loftus glory.