It’s simple. The underdog Lions need to find their mojo – and find it quickly – if they are to advance to next weekend’s Super Rugby final at home.
However, the task is not so simple as they have to find a way past the dangerous Hurricanes – the favourites for this afternoon’s semifinal at Ellis Park – if they want a chance at going all the way.
It took a wonderful 58m successful penalty kick from Ruan Combrinck in the dying stages of last week’s quarterfinal against the Sharks to keep their title aspirations alive.
The Lions, last year’s runners-up, huffed and puffed last week with one of their worst performances of the year before Combrinck’s heroics.
The Sharks shook the Lions off their game, and a number of missed opportunities by Elton Jantjies and some indifferent play from the home side almost saw them stumble at the first hurdle in the playoffs after losing just one match in the preliminary phase to finish top of the log.
The Hurricanes, who beat the Lions in last year’s final in Wellington, will take a lot to beat as they have match-winners aplenty in their squad.
The New Zealanders also have an incredible record against the Lions, losing just once in 14 Super Rugby fixtures since they split from the Cats in 2002.
That solitary win was in 2007. As witnessed last week, Jantjies’ form is key to the Lions’ success. Should he have another bad day at the office, the Lions could be in for a long afternoon.
But should the Springbok flyhalf take control of the game, the home side stand a real good chance of hosting either the Crusaders or Chiefs in next week’s final on home soil.
A vocal home crowd will help the Lions’ cause this afternoon. They’ll certainly need the support of every fan in the Lion’s Den.