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VIDEO: Lions banking on 'home run' to keep play-off dream alive

The Lions will start a crucial four-match home run when they host the world’s most impressive and in-form team, Leinster, at Ellis Park on Saturday.


Despite having arrived in Johannesburg with a “mixture” of players who featured in the epic European Cup quarterfinal win over Stade Rochelais last week and those who haven’t had game time in the last few weeks, Leinster still poses a major threat to the Lions’ ambitions of reaching the top eight.

In stark contrast to the Irish province, the Lions are coming off a two-match losing streak.

After starting their European trip last month with an impressive 38-14 United Rugby Championship win over Connacht in Galway, the Johannesburg-based team imploded – losing to Ospreys (21-36 in the URC) and Benetton (17-27 in a Challenge Cup Round of 16 encounter).

The Lions’ defence coach, 2007 World Cup winner Jaque Fourie, said it is important for the Ellis Park-based side to win their remaining home games.

They face Leinster this coming Saturday, followed by encounters with Munster (April 27), Cardiff (May 11) and Glasgow Warriors (May 18) – before completing their league fixtures against the Stormers in Cape Town on June 1.

“It doesn’t matter who the opposition is,” Fourie told @rugby365com, adding: “Leinster is a quality side, as we saw this past weekend [with a 40-13 demolition of Stade Rochelais].


“They will be well prepared and whichever team they field will be a big challenge for us.”

(WATCH as Lions defence coach Jaque Fourie reveals his team’s ambitious plans for the URC.…)

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Fourie pointed to Leinster’s unstructured attack and their decision-making as the big threats to an ambitious Lions side.

“They identify the space very early and the way they get the ball into that space is impressive.

“If you give them those open spaces they will punish you.”


The defence guru said they can’t afford the slump in form that hampered them on tour in Europe.

“We were disappointing against Ospreys and Benneton,” Fourie said, adding that they need to press the ‘reset’ button.

Lions with John Smit quote

“We are back home now.

“There are no second chances and making the top eight is non-negotiable.

“To do that we need to win all our home games.”

The midfield ace said ‘consistency’ now is the key to success for the Lions.

“Consistency – in terms of how we want to play and what our brand is – we need to get that right every week.

“We know we need to win four out of the five games and the players know what we need to do to achieve that.”

Fourie said last week’s ‘break’ allowed the battered bodies additional time to recover and they should have a full squad to select from.



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