The panel of New Zealand rugby experts in last night’s discussion on the final of the 2016 Super Rugby displayed a lot of respect for the Lions, but were unanimous in their view that the Hurricanes will triumph.
A bridge too far?
Several factors appear to be against the Lions, including jet lag, the weather, the defence of the home side and the mental stranglehold of NZ sides on their SA counterparts.
The last one does not appear to apply to the Lions after consecutive defeats of Kiwi sides, albeit it at home, but the weather is my major concern.
I cannot see the Lions changing their style of play in view of the inclement weather. This will call for precise execution. Both losing sides in last week’s semi-finals had opportunities to score tries, but were let down by handling errors at crucial times.
The Crusaders, in particular, base their attack on mistakes by the opposition, and, in the terrible conditions in Wellington, use their defence to create such opportunities for themselves.
What will be required?
Forward domination, Elton Jantjes at his best, and twenty three players giving their all for the full eighty minutes.
The match will be a massive test for the Lions flyhalf, given the different conditions to those he is used to. His tactical kicking will play a major role in the Lions game plan, and his ability will be tested to the limit.
And the winner is?
In tight matches such as these the contest is usually between what the heart believes and what the head says. Although everything points to a narrow win by the Hurricanes, there is one thing that makes me believe the Lions can pull off the impossible.
Their absolute faith and believe in each of their team mates make them much stronger than the sum total of the number of players. If they can achieve their goal of scoring two tries early in the match, and sow doubt in the minds of the Canes, they can pull it off.
Transformation in South African Cricket
This is the title of a very informative and comprehensive article written by Antoinette Muller in Daily Maverick. Before we get our knickers in a knot after reading conjecture in Rapport about “only five white players”, we need to understand the bigger picture.
Click here too read the article.