“It’s actually a little weird playing against the same team two weekends in a row.”

DETERMINED: Griquas hard at work this week. Picture: Dave Alexander

The Lions believe the news of Griquas boss Brent Janse van Rensburg’s departure from the Kimberley-based union at the end of this year’s Currie Cup campaign will serve as a motivating factor when the teams clash in the first semi-final at Ellis Park tomorrow.

Janse van Rensburg announced late on Wednesday he would end his association with Griquas following the Currie Cup, to take up a more senior role elsewhere, believed to be the Sharks. The dynamic Janse van Rensburg only joined Griquas at the beginning of this year.

“It is what it is,” said Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen yesterday when asked how the news of Griquas’ coach’s departure would potentially impact on performance.

“Griquas have been playing together for a whole year already so it won’t have an impact,” said Van Rooyen. “If anything, it will be a motivating factor.”

He added Griquaswould arrive at Ellis Park with “a trick or two up their sleeve.”

“They’ll have a set plan but they’re also a team who like to play what they see, very much like us, but it’s about finding the right balance.

“It’s actually a little weird playing against the same team two weekends in a row.”

Van Rooyen has been able to pick the same 23 that played last week for this weekend’s match, while Janse van Rensburg has made minimal changes. In the backs, scrumhalf Christiaan Meyer returns after recovering from injury, while up front prop Khwezi Mona and No 8 Zandre Jordaan start this week.

“It’s always nice to be able to pick the same side from one week to the next,” said Van Rooyen. “But, we’ve still got to go out there and play for 80 minutes. It’s another opportunity for us, for the players to express themselves. It’s nice that we’re in the running to win the Currie Cup.”

Captain Ross Cronje also expressed his delight that the Lions had a chance of going all the way this year. “I’ve won one Currie Cup in 12 years, and there are some Springboks out there who haven’t won one, so of course, I’d love to win it again,” said the scrumhalf.

“The main focus though is on Griquas and winning this weekend … if we won’t get past this hurdle, we won’t have a chance next week.”

Tomorrow’s game at Ellis Park kicks off at 2pm.

Looking back, the Lions have not fared too well at their home venue and were very lucky to edge out the Pumas at Ellis park by a single point 38-37, but them lost to the Blue Bulls and the Sharks.

Meanwhile, Griquas have had greater success on their away games beating the Bulls and the Sharks earlier in the competition, but in this semi-final match all will come down to the two flyhalves, George Whitehead and Shaun Reynolds, who are both good goal kickers, but the game will be settled on the bigger roles these two will have.

The stadium manager of Tafel Lager Park, Daan Slabbert, said that he hopes Griquas will have some BGT (Big Game Temperament) to beat the Lions on Saturday.

Meanwhile, conditioning and fitness coach, Jacques du Toit said, “Off to Emirates Airline Ellis Park we go. It’s all set up for a Cinderella ending.”

Du Toit added, “You don’t often get to right the wrongs of the previous weekend, but we do. We playing away from home and feel the pressure is very much on the Lions. We have identified areas we needed to work on and have paid attention to those aspects.

“Although we lost to the same team last week and will need to be up for an even harder fight this week. Hopefully we can pull it through and start getting Oom Bushy to talk more about the 2019 Griquas team than that of the 1970’s team,” the coach concluded.

Griquas XV: Anthony Volmink, Ederies Arendse, Michal Haznar, Andre Swarts, Eduan Keyter, George Whitehead (C), Christiaan Meyer, Zandre Jordaan, Sias Koen (VC), Gideon van der Merwe, Victor Sekekete, Ian Groenewald, Ewald van der Westhuizen, AJ le Roux, Kwezi Mona. Bench: Wilmar Arnoldi, Mox Mxoli, Johan Momsen, Neill Jordaan , Chriswill September, Chris Smit, Bjorn Basson, Ruan Kramer.

LIONS XV: Tyrone Green, Madosh Tambwe, Wandisile Simelane, Duncan Matthews, Stean Pienaar, Shaun Reynolds, Ross Cronje, Hacjivah Dayimani, Cyle Brink, Marnus Schoeman, Marvin Orie, Ruben Schoeman, Jacobie Adriaanse, Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole; Replacements: Jan-Henning Campher, Dylan Smith, Johannes Jonker, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Len Massyn, Dillon Smit, Jan-Louis la Grange, Jamba Ulengo