Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions up against ‘best attacking team in URC,’ says Jaque Fourie about Leinster

Lions defence coach Jaque Fourie is fully aware of the challenges that Leinster will bring and has prepared the team for what is to come.

The Lions will have to stop Leinster’s crazy attack if they want to stand a chance of coming out on top in their massive United Rugby Championship (URC) derby at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors have also become a more rounded team with an improved defence since the arrival of double World Cup winning coach Jacques Nienaber and that will also be something for them to contend with.

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Lions defence coach Jaque Fourie is fully aware of the challenges that Leinster will bring and has been preparing the team for what is to come in the match.

Best attacking team

“As a defence coach I know Leinster are probably the best attacking team in the competition and to measure ourselves against that is what we want to do,” explained Fourie.

“We also know that they have changed the way that they defend and focus more on defence these days. They have a very high line on defence and we did our homework on that as well.

“We know that they will score one or two crazy tries. That is in them. So we need to stay in structure and put them under pressure, because if you give them time and space, they will punish us.

“Leinster also have incredible depth and it doesn’t matter which Leinster team you play against, it will always be a good team.”

The 11th placed Lions have an extremely tough URC run-in, with four of their last five pool games against teams currently ranked in the top five on the log, with top of the table Leinster and defending champs Munster over the next two weekends.

They know they will have to pick up wins over the Irish giants, and possibly even against Glasgow Warriors and away against the Stormers if they want to make it into the top eight and qualify for the playoffs.

Win home games

“Our main focus was we need to win our games at home. It doesn’t matter who the team is. Leinster is a quality side and we saw that over the (past) weekend again. But whatever team they bring over to South Africa will be well prepared and up for the challenge,” explained Fourie.

“I think the biggest danger is their unstructured attack and their decision making in that. They can identify the space very early and the way that they get the ball into that space is very impressive.

“They are a well-oiled machine and if you are going to give them those opportunities and open spaces they will get the ball there and they will punish you.”

Leinster could be bringing a second-string team to South Africa, as they have done over the past two seasons, however with the massive amount of depth in their squad they will always be competitive, as they proved in beating the Lions 39-36 at Ellis Park last season.

“If you have a look at the game we played last season, I think with 10 minutes to go we were still ahead and the second-string guys that they brought just came back and won that game,” said Fourie.

“They have such good depth in their squad, so it doesn’t matter what team they bring. Most of their second-string guys would walk into any other first team in this competition. So the squad they have got is really strong.”