“We played the rugby and they scored the tries.” This was the frustration expressed by Lions coach Swys de Bruin after his team went down 27-17 to the Sharks in a pulsating Super Rugby contest in Durban at the weekend.
Both the Sharks’ intercept tries by flyhalf Curwin Bosch and wing Makazole Mapimpi came from passes from Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, with the visitors seemingly in control on attack.
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“That comes from good defence and if they missed them (intercepts) we would have scored, so they read that well and you have to live with it,” De Bruin said.
The Sharks dominated the first 20 minutes, leading 14-0, but the second and third quarters belonged to the Lions who threatened to run the Sharks off their feet, while controversial referee Marius van der Westhuizen denied the Lions two certain tries.
“We were in the game the whole time,” De Bruin said.
“Lionel Mapoe was over in the corner with that high tackle (from Makazola Mapimpi) and I don’t know what happened there.
“Then the try that was disallowed under the sticks (by Reinhard Nothnagel) for being on his knees, I’ll look at that again.”
The loss left the Lions in fourth place in the SA Conference, with their play-off hopes taking a big knock, turning this weekend’s derby against the Stormers into a virtual eliminator, while the Sharks surged to second spot behind the Jaguares.
“We did everything to win it, but execution cost us and they scored the tries. Two intercepts,” De Bruin said.
“We had a good run the last four or five years, but it was such a great game it could have gone either way.
“But I’m proud of our boys. They played such a great brand.”