The in-form Lions have arrived in Canberra to tackle the stuttering Brumbies in a must-win game for the hosts at GIO Stadium on Friday night. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm AEST.
The Brumbies have to be tactically and technically astute for the full 80 minutes if they have any chance of stopping the Lions juggernaut.
Still hurting from their narrow loss to the Blues in Canberra a fortnight ago, Brumbies mentor Stephen Larkham must demand his forwards hoe in at the breakdown and his backs to run holes in the Lions’ defence the way he used to in his heydeys as a player.
There’s no doubt the hosts have world-class players in dynamic Fijian duo of Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight, the workaholic Scott Fardy, trusted lineout jumper Sam Carter, super boot Aidan Toua and the athletic Rory Arnold.
But they haven’t been winning which is a bare minimum expectation in professional footy.
With a bye last week, a win on Friday and another the week after against the lowly Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth should bounce the Brumbies back in the playoff mix.
For the Lions, an absence of games against New Zealand sides in the competition will boost their title prospects this year.
Last year’s runners-up from Johannesburg have piled a staggering 136 points against the Waratahs, Reds and Rebels, averaging more than 40 points per match.
Lions pivot Elton Jantjies and elusive back Lionel Mapoe will be the players to watch.
Jantjes form will pile more pressure on other Springbok five-eighth Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie to play equally, if not better, to qualify for places in the national side.
A victory in Canberra and four matches in the Republic between them and home advantage, the venue for Super Rugby final could be determined by the Lions’ encounter on Friday.
A lot is at stakes for the Brumbies to let slip this match. Hosts by 5 points.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm AEST.