The Lions had a bye last week, and now the final push towards making the playoffs lies ahead.
Lions captain Warren Whitely said it was a timely interlude in the sometimes arduous rugby season.
“It’s very important for us, we needed the break,” said Whitely.
The Lions were third on the SA conference with 21 points from nine outings, and eighth on the overall log at just two positions out of making the playoffs.
“It’s been a tough nine weeks for us and I think it was a welcome rest for a lot of the guys just to get a away from rugby. It’s really important for us to stay focussed and get back into that game-week mentality.”
Coach Johan Ackermann also believed the rest did a world of good for his charges.
“The guys had a good week off, they look refreshed and full of energy again. It’s important, we started well with our training and we kept that up ahead of our big matchon Saturday,” said Ackermann.
The Cheetahs, meanwhile, occupied the unenviable bottom spot on the SA conference with 14 points with just three wins and six defeats in their season. Their paltry collections of points equated to 12th spot on the overall table.
Ackermann, however, said the Cheetahs would still provide a stern test for the Johannesburg outfit who harboured ambitions of advancing further in the competition than many would have expected at the beginning of the season.
“This is the year where any side can beat anybody on the day, where we can’t take anything for granted. The Cheetahs have been unlucky in a lot of games and they’ve got a quality team.
“The Cheetahs pose a different threat to other sides, they like to run the ball with their explosive runners. It’s definitely going to be an exciting game.
“We haven’t looked at the playoffs yet, there’s still a lot of rugby to be played. We’ve still got some big challenges ahead. Our focus is just on this weekend against the Cheetahs.”
The one major blow in the lead-up to the contest for the Lions was the loss of first choice flank Derick Minnie during the week. The 28-year-old was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury – which required surgery. – ANA
Original source: Rested Lions ready for Cheetahs