The Waratahs will be missing playmaker Bernard Foley for the second week in a row, with the flyhalf failing to pass a final concussion test.
Foley trained all week with the Waratahs but was unable to overcome that last hurdle on Thursday evening (AEDT) in time to be named for the side’s Lions clash.
Bryce Hegarty will don the number 10 jersey for the second week in a row, leaving the side unchanged from that which beat the Force in round one.
“The Lions are a team that like to play very positively, run hard, very direct and that style of play won them through to the final - they’re a very strong team,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the match and play a style we want to embrace and be part of an excellent game.
“There was a fair bit of frustration from our team Saturday night, a lot of the boys felt like they didn’t really get in the game.
“I’m expecting a much more enthusiastic (play) and a game that we will enjoy more.”
The Lions scrum had a tough day out last week against the Cheetahs, with tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer conceding five penalties, but Gibson doesn’t expect that to be a weakness again.
“With the Lions they base a lot of their game around the scrum, they’re excellent team from that source,” he said.
“I’m expecting a strong scrum battle because of that mentality.
“What has happened with Super Rugby coaches is we’ve got a lot of feedback coming around each area of our games, from referees around each of our deficiencies.
So, I’m expecting Lions to be pretty strong in that area, (that was) just a blip.”
The Waratahs last played the Lions in 2015, with the Johannesburg side avoiding every Aussie side in Super Rugby’s conference format, but Gibson said they wouldn’t be caught unawares after the Lions’ runaway 2016.
“We’ve watched a lot of their play, they’re an excellent team.
“They’re very positive in the way they use the ball and very formidable at home so we know what we’re in for.”
Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu is looking forward to the scrum battle.
“They're a really good set piece team, their scrums...there’s a real opportunity for us to get our scrum right if we do the things we need to.”
The Waratahs take on the Lions on Sunday March 5 12:05am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Waratahs to take on the Lions
1. Tom Robertson
2. Tolu Latu
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Dean Mumm
5. Will Skelton
6. Jack Dempsey
7. Michael Hooper (C)
8. Michael Wells
9. Nick Phipps
11. Rob Horne
12I. rae Simone
13. Israel Folau
14. Reece Robinson
15. Andrew Kellaway
16. Hugh Roach
17. Paddy Ryan
18. David Lolohea
19. Ned Hanigan
20. Senio Toleafoa
21. Matt Lucas
22. David Horwitz
23. Taqele Naiyaravoro