I’m excited ... though it will probably be my last game, said Jacobie Adriaanse. Photo: Willem Loock/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Lions props Jacobie Adriaanse and Dylan Smith are desperate to win this Saturday’s Currie Cup final, but for very different reasons.

For the veteran and well-travelled Adriaanse, the match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein will be his last chance to get his hands on the famous Currie Cup trophy, while for still young and early-into-his-career Smith it’ll be a chance of making up for missing out in 2015.

The 34-year-old tighthead specialist Adriaanse, who has played for among others Boland, Griquas, Scarlets in Wales, Montpellier in France and the Southern Kings, confirmed this week that Saturday’s Currie Cup final will be his last game before hanging up his boots.

“This weekend is not about me, but I’m excited ... in what will probably be my last game,” said the friendly, highly-experienced scrumming specialist.

In his long and storied career, Adriaanse had a chance to bag the Currie Cup in 2016, but the Bulls team he played in that day lost 36-16 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. “I just want to go out and enjoy the occasion, and do whatever is required of me by the team,” he said.

“We’re excited (to be in the final). Growing up everyone wants to play in and win the Currie Cup. We’ve now given ourselves a chance through the hard work we’ve put in this season.”

I t would be the cherry on top, said Dylan Smith in the build-up to this Saturday’s showdown with the Cheetahs, Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Smith, who is only 25 but seems to have been around forever, missed out the last time the Lions played in a final - in 2015 when Johan Ackermann’s team beat a star-studded Western Province at Ellis Park. On that day, Smith was, in his own words, “player 23”, missing out to fellow props Julian Redelinghuys, Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen for a place in the match-day squad.

“This is big, ja ... the fact I didn’t play then, I’m very keen now,” said the talented loosehead prop.

“The Currie Cup’s the competition we all watched growing up and I absolutely want to win it, get my hands on that trophy.”

After a stop-star year, riddled by injury, Smith is hoping he and his teammates can finish off on a high note.

“I had two weird injuries this year ... the broken cheek bone and then the ankle, so winning this weekend would definitely be the cherry on top. It’s exciting we’re here and it would be a good way to finish off the year.”

Smith called the Cheetahs a good “scrumming team” that had learnt a lot by playing in the Europe-based Pro 14 competition and said the Lions would have to “front up” this weekend. He added he was looking forward to the scrum battle.

“I’m a prop ... I like it there in the oven,” he said with a big smile. “It’s my place to shine, and I so look forward to these encounters where I can really test myself.”

The final kicks off at 5pm.

@jacq_west

 

The Star

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