Lions face battle with history

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Friday, July 28, 2017    Getty Images

The Lions have to go back to 2007 to see their last win over the Hurricanes, a 30-7 victory for the home side on that occasion.

But in eight games subsequently, the Lions haven't won, and that was when the Hurricanes were not the powerhouse that they have become in the last three seasons.

The Lions are hoping they will attract 40,000 fans to Ellis Park to watch them advance to next week's final by beating the Hurricanes.

With their record against the Hurricanes in mind, including the loss in last year's final in cold conditions in Wellington, and the earlier 50-17 drubbing in Johannesburg, coach Robert Ackermann is confident his side can get the Hurricanes weight off their shoulders.

Ackermann told, "We haven't looked at last year once. We haven't spoken about revenge and if there is talk about that it is from the media. A lot has changed though. Both teams have lost players. For me it's zero-zero, a clean slate.

"The reality, however, is that they are a quality side. I think both sides will play an exciting game. They have quality players at the back," he said.

The fact they haven't played New Zealand teams keeps getting raised but Ackermann said, "We have experience playing against them and I'm hoping the players can tap into that. You have to do some good things if you finish No.1," he said.

Being able to field the same side as played the Sharks last week was a bonus.

"We are happy we have continuity in selection.

"There was some debate over certain positions in terms of where we think the game will go and what we need. The players realise the game we played last week is not going to be good enough," he said.

One of the concerns is the below-par game first five-eighths Elton Jantjies played against the Sharks.

"A lot of players made mistakes. With Elton it is more obvious because he is the goal-kicker.

"Every player is big enough to know where he needs to improve. We have a lot of faith in Elton and have made the point that he can play at any level," Ackermann said.