Saturday, December 2, 2023
HomeRugbyLions have to be better in tough Stade Francais challenge

Lions have to be better in tough Stade Francais challenge

The Lions have to put in a better performance than in previous weeks when they take on Stade Francais in their Challenge Cup clash at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

It has been a very poor past three weeks for the Lions, with them suffering heavy United Rugby Championship (URC) defeats against the Sharks, 37-10, Stormers, 40-8, and Munster, 33-3, which sees them heading into the Stade Francais game on a bad run.

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All three of those games were always going to be difficult encounters for the Lions, especially with all three away from home, and they were considered under dogs for each one, but the disappointment comes from the manner of each defeat.

In all three games the Lions managed to misfire on both defence and attack, leading to the heavy losses that has also seen them tumble down the URC log.

They now face another tough match against high flying Stade Francais, who are second on the French Top 14 log and are on a superb run of form with three big wins in their last three matches.

Although the Lions comfortably beat them 30-12 in their first encounter at Ellis Park in mid-December, Stade Francais sent a weakened team to take part in that match, and they are expected to field a much stronger side at home on Saturday.

Underdogs again

The Lions will thus be underdogs once again, but they are lucky that the match isn’t a make or break one for them in the competition.

Having picked up eight points from their first two games, they can afford to lose against Stade Francais and then beat Dragons a week later and that will be enough for them to progress to the competition knockouts.

But with them being on a dreadful run of form it is vitally important for the Lions to put in a strong showing, regardless of what the final outcome is.

First prize would be an upset win which would firmly put their season back on track, but if they do go down to the hosts as expected, it is imperative that they do so with a positive showing and that they try to pick up a few bonus points which could prove crucial at the end of the pool stage.



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