JOHANNESBURG - Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has called the Currie Cup final against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein an “amazing opportunity” for his team.
The Lions - minus several seasoned players who left the union after Super Rugby - qualified for the final by beating Griquas 34-19 in an error-strewn semi-final on Saturday. They will face the Cheetahs, who got the better of the Sharks in Bloemfontein, in the last match of the 2019 domestic season.
Van Rooyen’s team will be chasing a first title since 2015 when they beat Western Province in the final, while the Free State side won the trophy in 2016, when they beat the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein.
“We played against this Free State team a few weeks ago (and won 24-22) ... they’re a very good team,” said Van Rooyen. “They’re a tough side so it’s going to be a big challenge, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for us.”
The Lions out-classed Griquas in the semi-final, running in four tries to one. “It was a typical, nervy semi-final,” said Van Rooyen, “so we’re elated to get through.”