Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions hoping for a miracle, Griquas and Pumas in Currie Cup knockout

It has been a strange season in the Currie Cup for the Lions, winning five games thus far while losing eight.

The Lions will be hoping for a miracle when they take on the Griffons in their final pool match of the 2023 Currie Cup at North West Stadium in Welkom, while the Griquas and Pumas are in a straight shootout for the semis in their clash in Kimberley on Friday (both games kick off at 3pm).

It is extremely unlikely that the Lions will make the semi-finals, but if they are to try and sneak in they need to pick up a full house of points with a big win over the Griffons, while also hoping the Pumas beat Griquas without allowing them a point.

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This would give the Johannesburg side a slim chance heading into Saturday’s final two pool games between the Bulls and Cheetahs in Pretoria and Western Province and Sharks in Cape Town.

It has been a strange season in the Currie Cup for the Lions, with the team having won five games while losing eight, to sit seventh on the log heading into the final round of pool fixtures.

Slipping away

But a number of those losses could easily have been wins if they had not let the games slip away.

Over the past month the Lions have beaten the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, lost to the Bulls by a point at Ellis Park (with a last-second drop goal going wide), thumped Western Province in Cape Town and fallen to the Sharks in Durban despite building up an early lead.

It has been this inconsistency that sees them in their current position, and regardless of what happens over the weekend, they will look to finish in style with a strong win over the struggling Griffons.

The Griquas and Pumas are essentially battling out a quarterfinal, with the winner of their clash at Griqua Park sealing a semi-final spot.

It will have shades of last year’s final, when the Pumas beat the Griquas to pick up their first ever Currie Cup title.

The Griquas have to win to get into the semis, while the Pumas could still make it through if they lose, but the door will be wide open for other teams to get ahead of them on Saturday.

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