The Golden Lions will continue with their attacking mindset in Saturday's semi-final at Ellis Park, says captain Warren Whiteley. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
The Lions are the tournament's top try-scorers with 45 from their 10 matches this season. That number is almost double that of the visiting Sharks side.
This past weekend against the Free State Cheetahs they proved once again what a dangerous team they can be when they get front-foot ball. Six tries, spread between the forwards and the backs, was another indication that this team can strike from just about anywhere and in any guise.
Speaking to SARugbymag.co.za, captain Warren Whiteley said his side aren't about to start playing it safe because the play-offs are at hand.
'Our ability from turnover ball has become a hallmark of our play and that's what makes us the side we are.
'It wouldn't be wise to change our approach now. We know that it's not going to be like our match at the weekend [against the Cheetahs]. It's going to be a lot tighter, and we're going to have to play in the right areas of the field, but our mentality will stay the same.'
'Our decision-making will have to be on key, but we're backing the processes that have gotten us this far.'
The Lions turned down two kickable penalties in the early stages of the match against the Cheetahs, instead opting for the corner. Whiteley's brave decision paid off as Jaco Kriel crossed the whitewash from a lineout maul. With semi-finals decided by the finest of margins, the Lions might be better off opting for the three points, especially given the Sharks strength at pilfering opposition lineouts.
'Every situation is different,' said Whiteley. 'It can depend on what period of the game it is, how long until half-time, even if the opposition is on a warning from the referee. There are so many factors that come into play, so it's not always a case of “take the points”, there's more to the decision than that.'
'We've been working really hard on our lineout in recent weeks, and we've improved in that area of the game. Our lineout is a great attacking option, and it went really well against the Cheetahs.
'The Sharks are strong in that area of the game, but our set pieces have been solid all season.'
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix