Lions, Stormers in same boat ... but who will sink or swim at Ellis Park?
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JOHANNESBURG - Lions captain Dan Kriel has no illusions regarding the magnitude of this weekend's clash against the Stormers, but the inside-centre is nevertheless confident that the Joburg-based team have the means at their disposal to overturn their recent losses, and forge a winning path ahead.
"We are both in the same boat," said Kriel of the current predicament the Lions and Stormers find themselves in. "We are both desperate for a win.
"We know that they have an extremely powerful forwards pack, and they've got a really good set-piece but that is every team you play against - you play against extremely powerful and talented players."
The Lions have lost both their opening matches - against the Bulls and Sharks, respectively - and as Kriel alluded to, face a Stormers' side that has also found itself on the wrong end of their two results.
The Cape-based side this past weekend lost narrowly 20-16 to their great northern rivals, and a week before came unstuck against a buoyant Sharks team.
Both those matches were at home, and this weekend the Stormers will have the added pressure of traveling to the Highveld to face a wounded Lions side at Emirates Airline Park.
The Lions, meanwhile, have lost both away games, but now start a three-match home run which will make-or-break their campaign. One of their biggest concerns will be to rectify their slow starts in each of those defeats, but Kriel revealed his positively infectious and enthusiastic belief that the Lions will make amends in that department, starting with the Stormers on Saturday.
And while he remained assured of that resolve, the Lions skipper was also honest in his assessment of what also needs to be further corrected.
"There are glimpses where we played some really, really good rugby," said Kriel.
"I think we entered the Sharks half 15 times, and when we get those opportunities, we really need to come away with points. I honestly, strongly, and personally believe if we can get that first 30 minutes, our start, off well and carry on doing what we are doing for the rest of the game, I think things will pan out a lot better for us.
"We are obviously not happy with our last two results, and we are really looking to change that and there is no better opportunity to do that than playing at home," he concluded.
* Read more from Dan Kriel on the Lions' clash against the Stormers on Saturday in Wednesday's edition of The Star.