Stransky fears for Lions

Springbok great Joel Stransky believes the fact the Lions have not played against New Zealand opposition this season could work against them.

The Lions clash with the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby semi-final in Johannesburg on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s final.

The Hurricanes got the better of the Lions twice last season. The Wellington outfit won 50-17 in the group stages before winning 20-3 in the final.

Saturday’s clash will be the first time the Lions have met a Kiwi side in this year’s competition. And Stransky, who now works as a pundit and analyst, believes the Lions could suffer due to the fact they haven’t tested themselves against the Kiwi sides, which he feels is the true barometer of success.

“I’m really concerned they haven’t played any New Zealand teams yet,” Stransky told Radio Sport.

“The Sharks were very clever in the way they applied pressure and went about things and the Hurricanes would certainly have learned from that.

“[Hurricanes assistant] John Plumtree would have studied that inside out, knowing the Sharks and Lions very well and the Hurricanes coaching team are very smart.

“They’ll have picked out what the Sharks did really well,  where [the Lions] weak points are and I’ve got this horrible feeling the Hurricanes might come here and win … it’s going to be a really tough game for the Lions.

“[The Stormers] came unstuck on the weekend against a Chiefs team who were good but not outstanding. That for me sums it up for the South African teams.

“If you’re not playing the best teams, like the Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders you’re not testing yourself.

“You’re not stepping up when it matters and when you do have to play those teams in a one-off knockout game it’s going to be very tough to catch up with the pace of game, style of play and different set of pressure that comes your way.”