Lions are wary of Cheetahs
Whether they will be misty-eyed or not as they approach their final games under coach Naka Drotske, the Lions expect the Cheetahs to be at their deadly best in Bloemfontein tomorrow.
Drotske and assistant coach Os du Randt's departure, now confirmed for May 30 after their game against the Stormers, has made all the headlines in Free State.
The Cheetahs looked like a litter of puppies suddenly taken away from their mother when they faced the Highlanders in a 45-24 defeat last weekend.
They might be emotionally fragile but Lions coach Johan Ackermann does not want to fall into the same trap the Stormers fell into when the Capetonians were shocked in Bloemfontein earlier this month.
"I said it from round one, any side can beat any side and they proved that when they beat the Stormers. Nobody would have guessed that they would but they did it, and it shows you that when one or two things go your way you start to get confidence and momentum ...
"If you go down there and think you're just going to pick up four points by just pitching up, you're going with the wrong mindset. It will be a big mistake to go there and not play to the best of our ability," Ackermann said.
The coach made six changes to the team that lost to the Brumbies 30-20 at home last weekend in a performance that was like burnt porridge compared to their debonair comeback against the Highlanders the previous week.
Lionel Mapoe slots back into his favoured No 13 jersey alongside Howard Mnisi, meaning promising youngster Harold Vorster drops to the bench. Ruan Combrinck also moves to his regular right wing place as Courtnall Skosan reclaims the No 11 jumper from him.
Up front, the coach has gone with the props that came off the bench last week, Jacques van Rooyen and Ruan Dreyer, while Schalk van der Merwe and Julian Redelinghuys are rotated to the bench.
In the second row, Andries Ferreira starts ahead of Franco Mostert.