Lions coach Eugene Eloff is disappointed to have lost to an impressive Bulls side, but is adamant that the Lions are making steady progress.
“You can’t deny that their has been a marked difference in the Lions game,” Eloff told keo.co.za. “The players are trying to create opportunities and things are going very well in this respect.”
Eloff’s upbeat attitude emanates from the performance of his youngsters in particular. “They are starting to gel and they continue to impress me with the way they deal with the pressure,” he said.
The Bulls outmuscled the Lions to a huge extent in the tight, and it was only at the breakdown that the men from Johannesburg stood much of a chance. But despite a few desperate tackles to deny Pedrie Wanneburg a couple more five-pointers, the Lions poor defence was their most detracting aspect.
“We let in two very soft tries, and when you look at the scoreboard, 14 points make all the difference,” said Eloff. “We will need to focus on this area of the game if we are going to challenge the Cheetahs this weekend.”
The Cheetahs made short work of the Valke in Brakpan on Friday, beating them by 66 points to 9 and scoring 10 tries in the process.
“We are also a new team with new structures,” said Eloff, “and it’s going to take a bit longer to click. I’m glad that we have started the campaign with two really tough matches against the Sharks and the Bulls, so the players won’t be allowed to settle into a false sense of security.”
Meanwhile, negotiations between the former Spears and SA U21 flyhalf Isma-eel Dollie and the Golden Lions Rugby Union continue. Dollie had a fantastic tournament in France and has been looking to join up with one of the top sides for the Currie Cup.
“At the moment, they are still busy negotiating,” said Eloff, “but from my personal point of view, I am quite excited, as I’ve worked with Isma-eel before and would love to have him as part of our set-up.”
By Jon Cardinelli