The Lions are gunning for a little bit of historical past on Saturday as they try and change into the primary South African workforce to beat Connacht within the United Rugby Championship, when the perimeters battle it out at Ellis Park (kick-off 4:05pm).
Connacht are presently two for 2 towards SA opposition, though each of these outcomes got here at house on the Sportsground in Galway.
Early within the season final 12 months they comfortably beat the Bulls 34-7 after which impressively dealt the Stormers their solely loss this 12 months, beating them 19-17 with out their internationals who had been on Six Nations obligation.
So will probably be a tough encounter for the Lions, however one they are going to be relishing as they give the impression of being to maintain their unblemished file towards abroad opposition at Ellis Park intact.
‘Typical Irish team’
“Andy (Friend, Connacht coach) made it quite clear that their target is to beat all four South African teams. So I think they’re going to be really determined against us, which is their first match against a South African team in South Africa,” mentioned Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen.
“They are a really harmful workforce, they will punish and harm you from flip over ball … typical Irish workforce the place they wish to preserve the ball alive, they will threaten you with a superb kicking sport, however Connacht is finish to finish assault.
“I think there is a possible opportunity for us at set piece. But you first have to earn that right and Connacht has shown the whole season how mentally tough they are and that they are willing to grind for 80 minutes.”
Odendaal again in midfield
Lions captain Burger Odendaal returns to the fold after lacking the previous two video games attributable to being an in depth Covid contact and he shall be excited for a giant midfield battle that includes Irish worldwide Bundee Aki and Tom Daly.
“They are international players so it is a big challenge for myself and Wandi (Simelane) and Manny (Rass) on the bench. We want to test ourselves against the best in the competition. But we don’t want to focus too much on them,” mentioned Odendaal.
“But it’s nice to be again on the sphere with the boys. The Irish groups carry one thing totally different within the competitors and it will be a giant one for us. We’ve had a superb few performances at house towards the abroad opposition, so we simply wish to preserve that momentum going.
“Hopefully the climate performs its half. They are a really assault minded workforce, so if the climate performs alongside I feel it’s going to be a cracker. “
End on a excessive
The Lions are successfully out of the working for the URC play-offs, with a prime eight end extraordinarily unlikely, however they are going to be keen to finish their first stint within the competitors on a excessive.
“Three games left for us, I think it’s really important for us to finish well. I think we are just outside of a chance to reach the top eight. But top 10 is still available and you want to finish as high as possible on the log,” mentioned Van Rooyen.
“I think the next two weekends we are playing against teams that are just ahead of us. So it is important for us to keep on building, keep on getting momentum, focus on ourselves and keep going forward.”