Lions rugby fans at Ellis Park. File Photo: Gavin Barker
DURBAN - Fortress Ellis Park, the Bastion of Emirates Airline Park, the Lions Den, whatever you call it, it all smacks of complacency. The Lions are preparing to lower the drawbridge and welcome the Sharks to their house, but they seem to be relying solely on the fact that they are at home to win them the match.

The talk has been very different all week from the two camps. The Sharks have been happy to knuckle down and get on with their work; another day, and another chance to earn a win. The Lions meantime have been almost boastful and non-committal to the threat the Sharks can bring, happy that their fortified walls will stand.

But the Sharks are planning an invasion the Trojans would be proud of, underplaying their chances and their ability in so much that the Lions are gleeful at the present that has been placed at their portcullis.

When the whistle goes, and the Sharks are free to run wild on the hallowed turf, all respect will go out the window as a much more professional Sharks outfit will grab the scraggly Lions by their ruffled manes and force them to play a structured game.

Bruisers like Jean-Luc du Preez, with carbon-copy brother in tow, Thomas du Toit, and Etienne Oosthuizen will leave the Lions pack looking like a mewing tabby, which in turn will leave a confidence player like Elton Jantjies hopelessly lost in leading their only weapon - their backline.

Coach Johan Ackermann may have the plaudits in his short career, but he doesn’t possess the cunning of coach Du Preez, and while the Lions think they will be playing a loose game of tag, they will actually be sitting down to a game of chess against a grandmaster. 

The Star