Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions need to give a ‘little bit more’ in Jukskei derby against Bulls

It is a big game for both teams, with a win for the Lions taking them to the top of the South African shield.

The Lions will be looking to give a little bit more when they take on the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship (URC) cross-Jukskei derby at Loftus on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

After enjoying a five game winning run over late November and December, the Lions have started the New Year with two straight Challenge Cup losses, away in France against Montpellier and then back at home against Ospreys over the past weekend.

ALSO READ: Lions bracing for physical battle against ‘dangerous’ Bulls

The Ospreys loss was a particular blow to the team as it was a game they were favourites for and led 28-17 going into the final 10 minutes at Ellis Park, only for the visitors to hit back with three late converted scores for a 38-28 win.

Captain Marius Louw admitted that their recent form has been a key topic and that they had to lift themselves for the Bulls challenge.

“We have spoken about our performance (over the past two weeks) and it just comes down to us working a little bit harder,” said Louw.

“We were also a little bit flat footed (against Ospreys) and we will be focusing on performing at our best and making sure our intent is a little bit better this weekend.”

Big game

It is a big game for both teams, with a win for the Lions taking them to the top of the South African shield and into the top half of the URC log, while a win for the Bulls would take them into the top four.

Despite the lure of being the top placed South African team, Louw said that it was not something that they were too focused on and that they were hoping to get some extra energy from playing against one of their biggest rivals.

“Obviously the top of the shield is in the back of our minds, but we will keep it there and stick to our processes and ensure that we perform,” explained Louw.

“We really just want to make sure that we do and control what we can. We can’t control anything the Bulls are going to bring. Our intent and the way we do things is what we can control so that is how we are going to do it.

“We try our best every week. Sometimes you have that unexplainable energy that comes through and that’s something we will look forward to.”

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits