The Lions will look to lock down top spot in the South African Conference of Super Rugby when they host local rivals the Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday, July 14, kick-off at 15h05 CAT.
The Lions come into the match on the back of a bye week, having last been in action on June 30 when they suffered a 31-24 loss against the Sharks in Durban.
Despite the defeat, the Johannesburg side remains at the top of the South African Conference with 41 points from 15 matches. A win at home this weekend will lock down first place and ensure they have a home quarterfinal next weekend.
The Bulls did the Lions a massive favour by coming from 19 points down to beat the Jaguares 43-34 at Loftus on July 7, a result which left the Pretoria team at the bottom of the South African Conference, but with a chance to at least leapfrog the Stormers, who have completed all of their matches for 2018.
The Bulls’ win last weekend snapped a three-game losing streak and they looked in ominous form, but whether they have enough to beat the Lions in their own back yard remains to be seen.
While their last loss to the Sharks ended a 21-match unbeaten run against local rivals, Swys De Bruin’s team haven’t lost at home to a fellow South African side since 2014.
And with a line-up boasting Springboks such as Warren Whiteley, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Marvin Orie, Elton Jantjies and Aphiwe Dyantyi, the team in red will be the clear favourites for victory and South Africa’s best hope of winning Super Rugby for the first time since the Bulls clinched their third title way back in 2010.
In head-to-head terms, the Lions and Bulls have met in 23 Super Rugby matches. The Pretoria team boasts 15 wins compared to just seven for their Johannesburg counterparts, while one game has been drawn.
However, the Lions have won the last two meetings of the teams, including a thrilling 49-35 victory at Loftus back in March which saw the away side run in no less than seven tries through the likes of Ruan Dreyer, Sylvain Mahuza and Ross Cronje.
Lions v Bulls – head-to-head
Matches played 23
Lions wins 7
Bulls wins 15
Lions points 560
Bulls points 678