Can the Jaguares maul the Lions in Johannesburg?
Bloemfontein‚ Port Elizabeth‚ Sydney and Melbourne.
The Jaguares are hoping to add Johannesburg to the list of cities where they have achieved rare away victories since they were introduced to Super Rugby in 2016.
They have largely underwhelmed‚ especially away from home‚ but their scraps with the Lions have brought out their best.
Two (home) wins and the same number of (away) defeats speak of a rivalry in which the home team has held sway.
They clash at Ellis Park on Saturday and the Lions are expecting the tourists to be every bit as combative as they’ve been in their four previous clashes.
“It is going to be a tough one‚” said Lions captain Warren Whiteley‚ who went on to suggest that the challenge the visitors are likely to pose will be much different to the one the Sharks brought to Ellis Park last weekend.
“They’re good. They came back nicely against the Stormers‚” said Lions coach Swys de Bruin about the Jaguares.
“We watched them against the Bulls (friendly). They are a good unit with a lot of internationals‚ like us.
"You’ve got to keep concentrating against them. You can’t take your foot off the pedal.
"They’re good. Every game in Super Rugby now is one that brings pressure. It’s all about handling the pressure best‚” said De Bruin.
Problem for the tourists is when the pressure gets cranked up‚ they get a little hot under the collar. Their soft underbelly is their poor discipline.
Against the Stormers last weekend they conceded 15 penalties‚ including a yellow card for fullback Joaquin Tuculet and it is an area of their game the Lions are likely to exploit.
“Discipline is vital‚” said De Bruin.
“A penalty has a ripple effect. You concede a penalty and it means they get distance and they have the ball.
“That (discipline) is one of the values we’ve set this year.
"We push the discipline aspect much harder. I’m proud of the guys.
"They were immaculate against the Sharks.”
De Bruin is quickly coming to grips with life as head coach after the departure of Johan Ackermann last season.
He reminded that it is perhaps time to make peace with the fact that the Lions have a new coaching staff.
“It is time to focus on the future. Philip Lemmer (forwards coach) is a young coach with a great future.
“Ackers (Johan Ackermann) laid a great foundation. We are still mates.
"We wish one another well.
"We’ve got to give Philip a full chance so that he can grow and become great like Ackers.”
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