Lions to play in front of packed Ellis Park

2011-10-28 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The Currie Cup final between the Golden Lions and Sharks will be played in front of a packed Ellis Park, something of a rarity in recent years.

Very few of the Lions squad have had the privilege of playing in front of a full house of local support. The reason is that the Lions have not managed to win the tournament since 1999 and last hosted the final in 2002.

One player who was at the stadium that day is Lions stalwart, Doppies la Grange.

La Grange has been the mainstay in the Lions backline for the better part of eight years and it will have the chance to be a part of history in this season’s Currie Cup final, after the Lions narrowly missed out on the title in 2007, losing 20-18 against the Cheetahs.

“I am looking forward to Saturday. If I think about when we play in front of 35 000 people, then we will probably need earphones to call the instructions on the field on Saturday [when

62 000 people are expected].”

La Grange attributes this seasons amazing form in the Currie Cup to the work they did in last year’s tournament, which strangely enough did not translate into any sort of Super Rugby form as they finished second from bottom.

He added, “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

“But I think that we are all looking forward to it.

“We want to do it for all the supporters who have stuck with us through all the years and we want to give something back to them.”

Meanwhile, Joel Stransky, who in 1990 was a member of the Natal team that famously upset Northern Transvaal for the Currie Cup trophy, is torn between selecting a winner of this year’s final, but he gives the Golden Lions the edge.

“I fancy the Lions, though, because they’re at home and made such a strong statement last weekend.

“Then again, the Sharks have a fearsome front row, which adds a dangerous element to the mix.

“The Sharks also have a culture of playing well away from home, while this is a young Lions team who haven’t been there before.”

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