The Lions are prepared for a pressure kicking game from Stade Francais in their vital Challenge Cup clash at Ellis Park on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
The Lions drew their opening match of the competition against Dragons last weekend, picking up three points from a possible five, and they know they have to try and get a full house of points against the French Top 14 high flyers as their next two pool games are away from home.
Key to countering the Stade Francais kicking game will be Lions flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse who has been in top form lately and will play an important role in the match.
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“If you look at their DNA and how they want to play their game, it is all about a massive kicking game and putting you under pressure by forcing mistakes,” explained Lions attack coach Ricardo Loubscher.
“In their attack, they have some brilliant runners, so our discipline needs to be good. They have a No 10 who is a good goal kicker and has a big boot on him.
“They also have a dangerous back three and if your kicking game is not on the money, they are going to hurt you with counter-attacks from anywhere.”
The Lions will also have to be on their best behaviour in the match, with the side currently on a poor run of discipline that has seen them conceding six yellow cards in their last five matches, which constantly puts them under pressure playing with a man down.
“We have talked about our discipline. At the moment, we are conceding too many penalties and we are making too many unforced errors,” admitted Loubscher.
“If we get our discipline sorted and be more patient, stick to our systems and use our opportunities we will be fine. We can then use the altitude and play a high-tempo game. I think that is one way to put them under pressure.”
Stade Francais has a number of South Africans in their ranks, including Springbok prop Vincent Koch, and will thus have a good idea of the conditions they are set to face on the Highveld.
Loubscher believes the game could come down to who handles the physical exchanges the best on the night.
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“You can’t single out any players, but we know Vincent and what he can do. The rest of the pack are Georgians and they have some physical guys. They scrum well and they can put you under pressure with ball-in-hand,” said Loubscher.
“The big thing for us is to pitch physically and that has been a big focus point for us going into this game. We saw in the Stormers game against Clermont in the second half. If your physicality is not there on the day, they can hurt you.”