Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
18 Mar 2018
4:42 pm

We never panicked, insist wayward Lions

Rudolph Jacobs

Coach Swys de Bruin praises stand-in skipper Franco Mostert for rallying the troops after making heavy weather against the Sunwolves.

Lions players during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Sunwolves at Emirates Airline Park on March 17, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images)

Despite struggling to put the winless Sunwolves away in their 40-38 victory at Ellis Park, overall Super Rugby log leaders the Lions never panicked at the weekend.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin credited new skipper Franco Mostert for keeping the squad composed.

“Fortunately we never hit the panic button,” said De Bruin, who believed the Sunwolves’ first win was ‘just around the corner’.

“Credit to Sous (Mostert) who ensured the guys remained cool headed.

“The message behind the posts (at the end) was that we play right up there in their half, and we play for a penalty.”

Trailing 31-26 deep into the second half in front of a small crowd of less than 8 000 people, the Lions showed great character to fight back.

De Bruin, however, felt there was perhaps a lack of confidence in the side.

“It was an uncomfortable type of week and our confidence is probably not where it should be after the Blues loss,” he said.

“But if we score five tries or six tries we should do better (than to win by just two points).”

Lamenting their failure to prevent some soft tries, De Bruin said some of the senior players might have struggled to make the right calls.

“Maybe some of our older guys must stick their hands up and then we can all sleep a bit better,” he said.

“Character-wise there’s nothing wrong – maybe with decision making – but it was a good comeback.”

De Bruin confirmed they were likely take their strongest available team to Buenos Aires this week for the tough away game against the Jaguares, And while they might rest star hooker Malcolm Marx, they were taking a leaf out of the Springboks’ book by flying out only on Wednesday.

“The Springboks always flew like that because they said the jetlag was at its worst on day four and five,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sunwolves coach Jamie Joseph said the Lions might have a target on their backs, but that was a sign they were a ‘good’ side.

“I’m a little disappointed. I really felt we played some good rugby, but the tries we conceded were a little bit soft,” Joseph said.

“And that seems to be our Achilles heel. We can score points but we concede easy tries far too often.”

Joseph was pleased, however, that they put the Lions under pressure.

“We attacked well individually, put a lot of pressure on their defence and scrambled well with the possession we did have.”


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