If it’s dry and conditions are good, expect another Currie Cup tryfest at Ellis Park this afternoon.
Before this weekend’s action got underway on Friday, no less than 307 tries had been scored, and the Lions and Western Province, who clash from 2.30pm, are likely to add significantly to that number.
As much as the defence gurus won’t like it, powerful tackling has pretty much gone out the window in this year’s competition and even Lions boss Swys de Bruin is expecting another high-scoring affair this afternoon.
“I think there are going to be a lot of tries again ... if the weather’s good,” said De Bruin in the build-up to the match.
“We’ve all seen how Province played at Loftus last weekend (scoring six tries against the Bulls) and we know how we want to play the game, so yes, it’s likely to be another big score.
“We also need to show the crowds we want to play some rugby.”
De Bruin has picked a young team for the match, with no less than seven men in the matchday-22 still eligible to play for the U-21 team, but he said he was fully backing them to have a go at a strong and formidable Province outfit.
“I want the guys to throw the shackles off and have a go, to play with no fear,” said De Bruin. “If there’s any fear there is tightness in the performance and I don’t want that. This is another chance for the guys to show me what they are capable of.
“I’ve always said that if you’re good enough, age is no matter. I have to play these youngsters.”
The rookies in the Lions team are loose-forwards Len Massyn, Jo Hanko de Villiers, scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuuren, lock Rhyno Herbst, loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani, scrumhalf Bradley Thain and outside back Jan-Louis la Grange.
Sitting in fifth place before yesterday’s match between Griquas and the Pumas kicked off, the Lions are under some pressure to win their last two games to ensure they make the playoffs.
Next week they’re up against the Cheetahs at Ellis Park, so winning today will significantly take the pressure off them going into that game.
Getting the better of Province though will not be easy.
The visitors edged the Bulls 46-45 at Loftus a week ago and are well positioned in second place on the log behind the Sharks.
Also, they have a good number more players with international experience in their side, among them Seabelo Senatla, Huw Jones, Ruhan Nel, Nizaam Carr, Bongi Mbonambi and JC Janse van Rensburg.
And their crop of younger players have also been around a little longer than their Lions counterparts; here one thinks of Damian Willemse, EW Viljoen, Robert du Preez, Cobus Wiese and JD Schickerling, and on the bench the likes of Caylib Oosthuizen, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Werner Kok and Craig Barry.
It promises to be a hugely entertaining game; now it’s up to the weather gods to play along.
Golden Lions: Jaco van der Walt, Sylvian Mahuza, Harold Vorster, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Ashlon Davids, Marco Jansen van Vuuren, Kwagga Smith, Jo-Hanko de Villiers, Len Massyn, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Jacobie Adriaanse, Pieter Jansen, Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Dylan Smith, Johannes Jonker, Rhyno Herbst, Hacjivah Dayimani, Bradley Thain, Jan-Louis La Grange
Western Province: Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, EW Viljoen, Huw Jones, Ruhan Nel, Robert du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nizaam Carr, Cobus Wiese, Kobus van Dyk, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl, Frans van Wyk, Bongi Mbonambi, JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: Ramone Samuels, Caylib Oosthuizen, Jan de Klerk, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, Werner Kok, Craig Barry