Lions look to end Stormers’ run

2012-03-23 09:33

The MTN Lions are faced with the unenviable task of breaking their victory drought against the DHL Stormers when the two sides meet in a Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park Stadium tomorrow.

The hosts have an atrocious record against the Stormers, who currently lead the South African conference, having lost all seven matches they have played against the coastal outfit since 2006.

While the Stormers have won all their matches since the start of the Super Rugby season, the Lions have lost two and have been unsettled by a spate of injuries.

This, however, has done little to douse their confidence of clinching a victory in this weekend’s encounter, or their ambitions of higher honours in the campaign.

Said Lions coach John Mitchell: “We don’t look backwards. It’s about dealing with what we have in front of us and our men are ready to go.

“Clearly if we are serious about our conference, it is a very important fixture. We have a team goal in mind and it is still alive, so it is important to focus on what is presented and we have a fantastic opportunity at home.”

Mitchell said his team had a great battle on their hands against a side that had built continuity from their victories this season.

The Stormers have impressed with their physicality while they have also shown the ability to pierce the oppositions’ defensive lines.

Skipper Jean de Villiers said he was encouraged by the steps the Stormers backline had made.

“The backline is showing signs of improving every week and it is in keeping with the process of what we want to achieve as a team,” De Villiers said. “The confidence was evident at training this week and we’re striving for a 100%performance.”

While history favours the visitors, De Villiers felt there were no easy contests in the Super Rugby series. “In this competition you play against quality competition week in and week out, and that won’t change this week.”

The Lions’ bearded captain, Joshua Strauss, said his side remained confident, despite two consecutive losses. “We set a goal to win the South African conference.”

“I think this weekend is vital. It is still early in the season – it is only three games – and there is a lot of room for improvement.

“But we have time and we had the bye. I think it was a good week for us and we’ve had an excellent week of training.”

Strauss said the hosts were well aware of the challenge they faced against the Stormers, but that they would be raring to go.

“We know what is coming this weekend and we know how important it is.

“We want to win at home and we want to excite our fans as well. On or off the field, it’s going to be a very important week for us and I think the guys are ready.” 

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