Lions coach Loffie Eloff complimented his side’s courageous display but stressed improvement is still necessary.
Against the Brumbies the Lions didn’t resemble the limp outfit that played the Stormers, which led to Eloff slamming his players for their inept showing. But after their 25-17 upset over the Australians, he was clearly relieved.
Commitment from professional rugby players should be non-negotiable and Eloff was pleased how his charges responded in a tumultuous week.
‘Emotionally it was a very difficult week with all the off the field rubbish,’ Eloff said in reference to assistant coach Leon Boshoff’s suspension due to alleged racial slur.
‘After last week’s showing I take my hat off to the players for their courage. A few guys put their hands up but collectively it was a team effort and credit to them for lifting themselves,’ he said.
However, it was far from the complete performance with many first time tackles missed, while try-scoring opportunities that could have sealed the result before half-time, went a begging.
It was the usual Eloff rhetoric lamenting the same old mistakes.
‘We could’ve turned the corner now but we must repeat this performance and get better from here,’ said Eloff. ‘When we review the match we’ll see we should’ve scored three or four tries in the first half with all those linebreaks. We need to be more clinical.’
The kicking game, especially in the second half in closing out the match, was better as they forced the visitors to attack from deep.
The territorial battle will be vital against the Hurricanes next week and captain Baywatch Grobbelaar acknowledged this.
‘If we play to our potential we can definitely beat them,’ said Grobbelar. ‘We played a very balanced game, going for territory and running when it was on, so we’ll have to do that again.’
Flyhalf Andre Pretorius continued with his troubled form, kicking three balls directly into touch, while his option taking was dismal at times.
‘It was disappointing for me personally,’ said Pretorius. ‘The Super 14 is a tough competition to get your form back, but there were many basic errors.
‘There were silly mistakes, but our courage pulled us through. What was vital was playing them in their half and making the big hits.’
The Hurricanes are the final test before the Lions head overseas and although confidence may now be high in the hosts’ camp, the lessons learnt from the Brumbies win must be implemented once more.
By Grant Ball