The Lions will be desperate for a win in the derby against the Sharks as they are yet to beat a South African team. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
It promises to be a thriller, for sure, but a game the Lions will take. The cards, it seems, have fallen nicely into place for coach Swys de Bruin and his men. 

Firstly, the Lions haven’t beaten a South African team this year, having lost to the Bulls, Stormers and this Sharks side 42-5 earlier in the competition. De Bruin’s men are due.

They’ll be more determined than the Sharks today. For nearly two years they didn’t lose to a local side, and they’ll be desperate to turn around their terrible run in 2019.

And, adding to their hunger today will be the fact they’ll be out to make up for that hiding dished out to them in round eight. It’s payback time.

Also going for De Bruin’s men is the fact they’re on a bit of a role at the moment, and we all know how crucial momentum is in sport. The Lions are coming off morale-boosting wins against the Waratahs and Highlanders to get their campaign back on track and they’ll take that confidence and belief into today’s clash.

A number of teams this season have copped a beating after a weekend off; the Lions being one of them when they went down to Robert du Preez’s men at Ellis Park in early April.

And they’ll hope to also catch the Sharks cold today with the home team coming off a bye.

Furthermore, the Lions are one of the most disciplined teams in the competition, having only given away five penalties in total in their last two games against the Waratahs and Highlanders respectively, meaning the Sharks won’t get too many chances today to kick to touch to set up attacking line-outs, or at goal.

The Sharks, though, have given away 16 penalties in their last two outings, so there will be attacking or points opportunities for the visitors.

The Sharks have blown hot and cold this season and have looked vulnerable under pressure. The Lions are a team on the up after a difficult mid-campaign wobble.

@MikeGreenaway67


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