After playing themselves back into Super Rugby contention with a superb win over the Jaguares at Ellis Park, but failing to land the killer punch, the Lions’ next challenge already looms large.
The Rebels head to Doornfontein spearheaded by their experienced Wallaby halfbacks of Will Genia and Quade Cooper and will be keen to exploit their hosts’ wastefulness.
“The Rebels have a top spine, they are unbeaten, but we will have to rectify a lot of mistakes,” said Lions coach Swys de Bruin.
The Lions were in breathtaking mood to have led 47-13 by the 51st minute, but then several changes from the bench changed the momentum.
It allowed the Jaguares to run in four tries in the final 25 minutes.
“I’ll be honest, I’m very thankful for the win and glad for the youngsters who came through,” said De Bruin.
“If you look at our caps compared to their 22 internationals in the last 20 minutes was phenomenal for me, but we had the bonus point in the bag but almost let it slip.”
De Bruin said he was disappointed because if a pass or two stuck in the end there, from Kwagga Smith to Courtnall Skosan, ‘you put it under the sticks and it’s 54 and that is building an innings’.
“But the guys know you can’t pass with your eyes, but to score seven was great, but not with the tries we leaked in the end.
“It’s a burden off the shoulders because it was set to be one of the better ones, it’s like when you’re batting and you’re in the nineties and going for your hundred and then get yourself out.”
Having climbed to fourth on the SA Conference and ninth overall, it was important for the Lions to put the Bulls loss of the previous week behind them.
“Nathan McBeth was great on the loosehead, Wandi (centre Wandile Simelane) was great, and we still have six U-20s who played last weekend,” said De Bruin.