Sharks out to halt Lions' charge

Stephan Lewies of the Sharks reacts during the 2017 Super Rugby match between Sharks and Waratahs at GrowthPoint Kings Park, South Africa on 11 March 2017. EPA/Samuel Shivambu

Sharks lock Stephan Lewies is predicting no easy ride for the Lions when the teams clash in their final Super Rugby regular season game at King's Park on Saturday.

The Lions are chasing top spot on the overall log and must win to stand a chance of overhauling the Crusaders, which would then set-up a repeat quarterfinal, this time at Ellis Park, a week later.

The Sharks have also secured their play-off place, but have been in patchy form of late which has seen them lose to the Southern Kings and Bulls. Victory over the Lions would be a big boost going into the knockout stages.

"No words of motivation are needed for this match," Lewies told the Sharks website. "We take a lot of confidence out of the last match against them [a 34-29 defeat in April] and we know what we're up against. They're competing for top spot on the log and we're going to be up for this match.

"After the bye and loss to the Bulls, we need to get back into our rhythm and winning ways. After this it's the quarter-finals, so there are no more second chances, so it's do or die for us and we want to get some momentum from this game going into the quarters so we can build on each performance."

Lewies says they are hoping to get on top of the Lions at scrum-time, where the Sharks have been third-best in Super Rugby this season.

"We're expecting a huge battle upfront and something we have really worked hard on for this game is our scrum. It's been going well all season and something we pride ourselves on. We're up for the challenge and hopefully can impose ourselves."

That narrow defeat at Ellis Park earlier in the campaign saw the Sharks compete in all facets, but they gave up too many penalties which cost them dear.

"We've spoken a lot about discipline," Lewies says. "It's what cost us in the previous game against them, we're expecting a massive battle upfront -- which is a bit clichéd, but the game is definitely won and lost there.

"They'll come into this game with a lot of confidence, especially in the Springboks in their side after doing so well against France, but it's motivation for us to see how we go against the best and to prove that we're up there."