Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions v Sharks: ‘Two desperate teams set to clash at Ellis Park,’ says Loubscher

It's a crucial URC match for both teams, with kick-off at 3pm.

Two desperate teams will be going head to head when the Lions welcome the Sharks to Ellis Park for their crunch United Rugby Championship (URC) clash on Saturday afternoon.

Both teams are in different stages of desperation, with the Lions knowing they have to win to realistically stay in the hunt for a top eight finish and place in the competition knockouts come the business end.

ALSO READ: Lions must fix inconsistencies ahead of huge Sharks clash

The Sharks on the other hand are rock bottom on the log and are effectively out of the top eight running, having won just once and lost nine games this season, so their focus will likely be on getting some vital wins under their belt to build momentum into the Challenge Cup competition.

Four straight losses

The Lions will also be desperate to arrest a slide of four straight losses in all competitions, including in back to back cross-Jukskei derbies, with them going down 30-28 to the Bulls in Pretoria, and then arguably their worst performance of the season losing 25-10 at Ellis Park.

“They will be desperate, but so will we be desperate after our performance against the Bulls. There was a lot of frustration and disappointment coming away from that Bulls performance,” explained Lions assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher.

“The big thing for us is to take our opportunities. We had chances in that game. So a big focus for us will be to stay in the moment, be patient, show composure and when opportunities are there we need to take them.”

Loubscher claimed that it was frustrating for the team to have constant breaks between matches, with their first game against the Bulls taking place on January 27th, and their second on February 17th, while they have now had another weekend off before the Sharks match.

Fixing errors

However he admitted that they have utilised the time off to the best of their ability and that the players are looking forward to fixing what went wrong against their Highveld rivals against the Sharks this weekend.

“If you look back to the first game against the Bulls, ideally you want to play straight after that, especially after coming so close against them. So from our side ideally we would love to play week in and week out. We get better the more we play, which improves our performances,” said Loubscher.

“But it’s (the time off) been good for us. It was nice to have a bit of a break and get away. We have obviously been doing a lot of analysis on our performance against the Bulls, with a lot of reflection on where we can do better.

“We were a little bit disappointed with the opportunities that we had (and didn’t take) in that game. But credit to them, they took their chances and we didn’t take ours. But we are looking forward to the next one.”

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