Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has warned the British & Irish Lions to prepare for a much more competitive game than they received against the Golden Lions earlier in the week.
Drotske, who played in two test defeats against the 1997 Lions, spent three years playing at London Irish and knows first-hand many of the strengths and weaknesses of a number of the Lions players.
But, more than anything, he knows that his players are ready for the once in a lifetime experience of playing against the Lions.
Even though they finished beneath the Golden Lions in the Super 14 table, the Cheetahs ended their campaign with wins over the Sharks and Crusaders before running the Bulls close in the champions’ final league match.
"We will be better than the Golden Lions. They will be very disappointed at what happened to them on Wednesday night," said Drotske.
"Their defensive systems didn’t work, although the Lions also scored some very good tries. We may have finished bottom of the Super 14 table, but we finished very well. "So I can guarantee the Lions that everyone of my players will be motivated at the prospect of playing against them. I could see that by looking at the faces of those players I had to leave out of the team."
Drotske is missing five players, including the current Springbok back row ace Juan Smith. He will be a huge loss for the home side, although in fellow international Heinrich Brussow they have another excellent back row forward.
"We know we are going into the game as underdogs, but we will be looking to win the game," said Drotske.
"The Lions are a good side and I think it is going to be a very close series against the Springboks."