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Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
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Big scoreline only favours one team

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 24 Oct 2011 at 16:31
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The lob-sided 53-9 result the last time the two sides contesting the Currie Cup Final met will certainly add a fair bit of spice to Saturday’s big game in Johannesburg. The losers on that day, though, will take far more from the loss than the victorious Sharks will.

John Plumtree has a far bigger motivational task on his hands than his namesake John Mitchell does, in short. As hard as you may try to convince yourself that the Sharks players won’t be just that teeniest bit complacent, the reality is that it’s hard to see how a team can become that much better in just two weeks to overturn a 44-point hiding. That’s the kind of thought that will doubtless be running through the minds of the Sharks players this week and the challenge for the management team will not be to quell those voices, but to rather use the message as positive motivation, rather than a source of complacency.

For Mitchell, on the other hand, it’s quite easy. He’s already stated that his team’s attitude going into that Durban fixture was poor, given that they effectively had nothing to lose or gain either way and the knowledge that they are nowhere near as bad as that last scoreline would suggest will serve as huge motivational fodder for the Lions. In short, all Mitchell needs to do in terms of motivation is write down that scoreline and ask his team to go out and turn it around. They will be champing at the bit to do so, feeling aggrieved – nay pissed off – at the thought that their opponents will already written them off.

The Sharks need to go a little further backwards and remember that the Lions have had them dead and buried the last two times they’ve played in Johannesburg and while the Currie Cup game came at a time when the Sharks were seriously limited in terms of personnel, it’s the Super Rugby game earlier in the season that should have the alarm bells ringing. On that day, the Lions totally annihilated a full strength Sharks team and had them staring down the barrel of an ignominious defeat, before a Butch James yellow card allowed the visitors back into the contest. The Sharks will take heart from the fact that they managed to fight back for a draw that day, but perhaps will also not be too quick to write off the Lions as no threat, as they’ve shown they have the goods to handle the Sharks and their Bok-laden pack.


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