Lions hit rock bottom, start digging

SIMON BORCHARDT saw the Lions suffer their 11th consecutive defeat when they went down 17-11 to the Force in Perth.

The Lions led 8-3 at the break after keeping the opposition tryless in the first half for the first time this season, but their execution and decision-making was woeful in the second half and they never looked like finishing the job.

The Joburg-based franchise has now won just 17 Super Rugby matches out of 93 since 2006 (an 18% win record), while John Mitchell has lost a record 65 Super Rugby matches as coach.

The Lions made a good start to their last tour game when they sent the ball wide to fullback Andries Coetzee whose inside pass put winger Michael Killian away in the left-hand corner. Elton Jantjies missed the conversion but slotted a penalty to make it 8-0 after 12 minutes.

Shortly after, Lions prop CJ van der Linde was accused of biting, and he could face a lengthy suspension if found guilty by the citing commissioner.

Seymour got the Force on the board with a penalty as they began to dominate possession. The Lions, though, had a great try-scoring chance on the half-hour mark when Coetzee burst away and found Lionel Mapoe inside the Force 22. But they conceded a turnover and the Force went the length of the field, with a knock on just before the line costing them a try. The Lions lost centre Jaco Taute to a shoulder injury in that passage of play, while Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan left the field minutes later.

Both sides had opportunities to score late in the half but the Force lost two of their own lineouts in great attacking positions (having lost another two earlier on), while the Lions got to within five metres of the opposition tryline, as the hooter sounded, before conceding a penalty.

The third quarter of the game was forgettable until the Force took a quick penalty tap from a kickable position and captain David Pocock was driven over for the try.

Replacement Ruan Combrinck kicked a penalty after the hooter to earn the Lions a losing bonus point, but they remain rooted to the bottom of the combined Super Rugby log.