Star Lions flanker Kwagga Smith’s Super Rugby season is probably something of the past, coach Swys de Bruin lamented after his team’s disappointing 37-17 Super Rugby defeat to the Hurricanes at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Smith was forced to leave the field in the 25th minute with what was feared to be a torn hamstring, which deprived the team of one of their biggest strike runners and menaces at the breakdowns.
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“Kwagga had such a great season, first helping Malcolm (Marx) with the leadership when skipper Warren (Whiteley) wasn’t available, and then after losing lock Stephan Lewies before the game, Kwagga had to dig really deep,” he
“When Kwagga is forced to come off you know it’s serious and he will probably have to play with half a hammie. It must still be confirmed but he could be out for five to six weeks.”
With the scores level at 10-10 after the break, the Lions were taken apart in the second half following the Hurricanes’ decision to introduce flank Ardie Savea and hooker Dane Coles from the bench.
“It reminded me of 2016 when we got 50 points against them. It was almost the same movie,” De Bruin said.
“We knew they were coming for us at the breakdowns and they were very good there. In fact they killed us.”
De Bruin, however, said he would have to reassess the situation before their must-win game against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend, which is crucial in their attempt to qualify for the play-offs.
“There were individual errors on defence and it’s hard to blame the system when a No 12 centre (Ngani Laumape) runs through almost untouched, and when you kick off and we miss the ball completely and they go on and score,” he said.
De Bruin was reluctant to comment on the performance of official Jaco Peyper after the Lions were severely punished in the last 40 minutes.
“We hardly had any ball to play with, but I will first have to look at the video,” De Bruin said.
“I was just disappointed that we couldn’t play our game because every ruck was ugly and it worked for them.”