Rugby Union 3 years ago

Opposition File: Lions

  • Opposition File: Lions

The Waratahs take on the Lions on Sunday afternoon, in a game that the Aussies are expected to win relatively comfortably. Throughout the week, Waratahs captain Dave Dennis spoke cautiously about the game, reminding the press that the Lions are a team that shouldn't be underestimated. Hopefully this is a message that Michael Cheika has drilled into the squad.

The Lions play the prototypical South African style of rugby, trying to bash you into submission through their forwards and to take as many points as possible from penalty and field goals. They have won some close games this year playing in this style and it is incredibly important that the Waratahs maintain playing running rugby that keeps the Lions massive forward pack running. 

There have been a few changes to the team that defeated the Hurricanes a fortnight ago. Will Skelton starts in place of Jacques Potgeiter who has had some injury issues, Hugh Roach gets his Super Rugby debut on the bench for the injured  Tolu Latu and the Waratahs new behemoth winger Taqele Naiyaravoro starts on the bench. 

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As always we take a look at the five key points leading into this match up:

1. The Scrum: The lions have arguably the best scrum in the competition, it isn't a strength of the Tahs but they need to be solid enough to make sure it doesn't become their Achilles heel.

2. Tempo: This will be a competition of one of the fastest playing teams in the comp and one of the slowest playing teams. Whoever keeps the game at their tempo should win. 

3. Izzy Folau: Has been relatively quiet the last few games, they need to make sure he's involved. There will be holes for him to exploit.

4. Robbie Coetzee: He may not be that well known but i'm a big fan of the Lions hooker, if Polota-Nau goes down injured (shocking I know) then debutante Hugh Roach will have his hands full with this bloke.

5. Offloads: They are a cruel mistress, but a few key off-loads are how the Tahs will win games like this, they need to back themselves and constantly have the gigantic Lions pack backpedalling. 

This week should be an interesting contrast of opposite styles of rugby. Hopefully the Tahs come out on top. 

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