Despite being edged by the Bulls in their Super Hero Sunday clash at the weekend, Lions captain Elton Jantjies believes his team can
look forward to an exciting Super Rugby campaign this year.
Jantjies was named Man-of-the-Match after an inspired performance at FNB Stadium, and he felt the pieces were falling into place ahead of next week’s away match against the Jaguares.
“The guys were so hungry and excited to play because it’s not the same as training during the week.
“The expectations were there from the fans,” Jantjies said.
“We went into the game with a lot of energy. Now it’s just about channelling that energy, having experienced the pressure, and making the right decisions.”
Jantjies admitted he had ground to make up after missing out on the Lions’ pre-season activities because of his involvement in the Springboks’ victorious World Cup campaign.
“If you have been together for 14 or 16 weeks there is bound to be a feeling of unity,” he said.
“While we were busy with the World Cup the boys started pre-season after the Currie Cup.
“The guys were working hard while I was with the Boks and when I got back I had to make sure I fitted in with the boys as quickly as possible.
“I had to keep up with the boys in terms of running skills, etc.”
Together with team management, a lot of work had been put in by the squad, and Jantjies hoped they could build on the weekend’s warm-up game.
“We wanted to play a certain way, and being forced to play inside our own half at times is certainly an issue we can learn something from,” he said.
“There were opportunities we took but others we didn’t take, like conceding turnovers on attack, but we can just keep on growing from this launchpad.”
With new coaches, a new captain and some notable changes in their playing personnel, Jantjies said the Lions would focus on taking another step forward this coming week, with one friendly game already under their belt.
- In a big blow flank Cyle Brink could be out for a long spell after he ruptured his Achilles tendon right and will undergo surgery on Wednesday. Carlu Sadie and Darrien Landsberg suffered concussions last Friday and are still symptomatic, while centre Francke Horn suffered a Grade II ankle injury