Lions in for a world of pain against French giants?
SPOTLIGHT: Lions backline coach Ricardo Loubscher will be imparting some valuable knowledge to his players ahead of their Challenge Cup clash against Stade Francais in Johannesburg on Friday.
Loubscher was an assistant coach at Stade Francais for a few years before joining the Lions and he knows all too well how tricky it will be playing against the French giants.
The game will be an important one for the Johannesburg side after they played out a 31-31 bonus-point draw against the Dragons in Round One.
“If you look at the Top 14 log, they [Stade Francais] are definitely in the top four,” said Loubscher.
“If you look at their DNA, how they want to play the game, it’s about playing a massive kicking game and putting you under pressure by forcing mistakes.
“On attack, they got some brilliant runners.
“Our discipline needs to be good. They got a No.10 who is a good goal-kicker.
“If your kicking game is not on the money, they are going to hurt you on the counter-attack from anywhere.”
Loubscher added: “At the moment we are just conceding too many penalties and we are just making too many unforced errors.
“From our point of view, we need to get our discipline sorted.
“We need to be more patient, stick to our systems and use our opportunities.
“If we can use the altitude and play a high-tempo game, then we can put them under pressure.”
The story continues below…
🔥 Freeee Running Flanker 🔥
The 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝒻𝑒𝒸𝓉 break from Jaco Kriel to assist Edwill van der Merwe’s second try 👏#ChallengeCupRugby @LionsRugbyCo pic.twitter.com/E3eC4iP9jz
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) December 12, 2022
Meanwhile, Lions scrumhalf Andre Warner, who had a stint playing with Stade Francais not too long ago, believes his team can’t pin all their hopes on altitude to get them over the line against the French side on Friday.
“They also have a few South Africans in the squad so they would have prepped them in that regard,” said Warner.
“They know what to expect with altitude, so I think they will be prepared for it.”
One of those South Africans the Lions could come up against is Springbok prop Vincent Koch.
Koch is one of the world’s best scrummagers, but the Lions are not focussing on individuals.
“You can’t single out any players,” said Loubscher.
“We know what Vincent can do and then there is the rest of the pack with some Georgians.
“They got some physical guys. They scrum well and they can put you under pressure with ball in hand, so the big thing for us is to pitch up physically.
“Physicality is a big thing for us going into this game.
“We saw the Clermont-Stormers game. If your physicality is not there on the day, then they can hurt you.”