Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Why the Lions will be more fired up than usual for Warriors clash

Franco Smith's team from Glasgow lead the way in the URC and are right now the best side in the competition.

Lions scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys says his players will have an extra spring in their step when they take on Glasgow Warriors in a crucial round 15 match at Ellis Park on Saturday – the reason being, they’re going up against the top-of-the-table team and right now the best outfit in the United Rugby Championship.

“It shouldn’t be that way, but you always want to measure yourself against the best, the top team,” said Redelinghuys this week.

“We always want to play our best and give it our all, but it helps when you come up against the top team, even though it shouldn’t.”

URC last-eight

Glasgow, who are coached by former Springbok assistant coach and Cheetahs Currie Cup-winning coach Franco Smith, lead the URC table with 60 points from 12 wins in 16 matches.

“The guys are really motivated for this weekend,” said Redelinghuys. “We all feel we still haven’t played a full 80 minutes to our best ability this whole season, so we’re still searching for that consistent performance. Maybe we’ll get it this weekend.”

While the Warriors will be going all out to make up for the narrow loss they suffered to the Bulls last weekend and to stay on top of the points log, the 10th placed Lions need five log points to stay in the hunt for a quarter-finals place, with just one round of matches remaining after this weekend’s action.

Franco Smith factor

While Redelinghuys said the Lions had an idea of what to expect of Glasgow, mainly due to the fact they are coached by Smith, he wasn’t sure if they’d stick to their DNA this weekend.

“They like to run the ball, but we’ve seen teams come here and look to play a suffocating kind of game, when they kick more than they normally do.

“We know Franco, we’ve been playing against his teams, and coached against him, for years. Glasgow are the best attacking team in the competition, and they’re the best defensive team in the competition, and we’re not taking them lightly.

“We’ll also be making a mistake if we think playing at altitude will help us win.

“All the overseas teams now prepare properly mentally to go 80 minutes (on the highveld) … as we saw with them against the Bulls last weekend. They’re smart, they use their time well in the last 20 minutes of matches, by resting or players sitting down, but we must make sure we control things in the final quarter this weekend, and that’s by making less mistakes.”

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