As it turned out, it is Western Province who lie in wait for them at fortress Newlands, but Minnie said after the Lions’ unconvincing win over Griquas, all teams start equal in semifinals.
“We really didn’t mind who we were going to play,” said the Lions skipper. “We were just thrilled as a team to be in the semifinals and collectively that’s where we will focus.”
Lions coach Johan Ackermann will make at least two changes to his side when he names the squad on Thursday, with prop Ruan Dreyer and flank Jaco Kriel coming back into the picture after they were both rested last weekend for the final round-robin clash against Griquas.
The Lions also know what it takes to get the better of Province after beating the Capetonians twice in the competition last season but then losing in the last seconds to their southern rivals in the playoffs at Ellis Park.
“We could have been in an awful situation after the game against Griquas even if we only got one point,” said Ackermann.
“But that’s the way semifinals are decided and we saw last year how we lost to Western Province in the semifinals in the 79th minute.”
But Ackermann expressed his satisfaction at how fullback-cum-wing Andries Coetzee came through the game after passing with flying colours in the new position of inside centre.
“Andries probably needs more game time in the position,” said Ackermann, “but he attacked well, and his defence was sound”.
But this weekend Coetzee could face the biggest test of his career if Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers returns as expected for the semifinal, taking over the reins as captain from flank Deon Fourie.
v Newlands semifinal tickets, which went on sale yesterday, have been set at R90 for standing tickets, with three seating prices at R150, R200 and R250 each.