Despite the result on the scoreboard, Lions coach Loffie Eloff admitted the Lions’ loss against Western Province felt like a win.
The Lions needed to restrict WP to a victory-margin of less than 19 points and keep them from getting a bonus point, and achieved both goals in the 14-6 loss at Newlands. A clearly relieved Eloff said despite the defeat, reaching the semi against the Sharks was the ultimate goal.
“It definitely feels like a win. It was a tremendous defensive effort and we showed great courage,” said Eloff.
The Lions mentor claimed his team didn’t want to make us of a conservative approach, but it was just the way the game evolved.
“Tactically, we didn’t play the way we wanted to. It’s scary if you look at possession, we didn’t have the ball. We weren’t focused on defence – I wanted the guys to go out with an attacking mindset and be positive, but we couldn’t do that without the ball,” he said.
The Lions mentor said his team had always come with the intention of winning, but believes the resultant approach was necessary in the circumstances.
“Our goal was always to win. We did want to slow it down to keep the structure, but we did want to attack. It may have looked from the side that we just wanted to contain, but that wasn’t the case – we just didn’t have the ball and couldn’t do much from there.”
By Grant Ball