Johannesburg – Free State Cheetahs captain Boom Prinsloo praised his side for playing the full 80 minutes to beat the Golden Lions 26-23 in their Currie Cup game in the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The hosts are now second on the log, pending the results of Saturday's other Currie Cup games between Griquas and the Sharks and the Blue Bulls and Western Province, but for the time being eighth-man Prinsloo,is relieved that his team stood their ground for victory.
The Cheetahs nearly squandered a half time lead of 23-3 and gave the Lions ample chance to make a come back, with a penalty by Cheetahs winger Riaan Smit the only difference.
“We made it very difficult for ourselves in the second half, but I am glad that the guys kept their cool and did not lose their concentration. In the end we finished well,” said Prinsloo.
“This Lions team never gives up. Credit must go to my team mates for playing untill the final whistle. I am really proud of the effort they put in.”
The Cheetahs looked impressive in the line outs, but struggled in the scrums with Lions Springbok front rower CJ van der Linde an important factor.
“Our lineouts improved a lot since last week after we worked hard on it in our preparation, but our scrums weren't up to scratch. We are still struggling a bit with the timing and the new calls, but we need to rectify that this coming week,” Prinsloo added.
“Next week we play the Sharks. It is always tough to travel to Durban. But if we can build on the momentum we now have after beating the Lions we can not only beat the Sharks in their own back yard, but really finish well this season,” Prinsloo added.
The Lions followed their lacklustre performance in the first half with a stellar 40 minutes in the second, but in the end good tries by winger Anthony Volmink and replacement full back Ruan Nel were not enough to see the visitors travel back to Johannesburg with a win.
“We struggled to get into our rhythm in the first half and made it very difficult for ourselves. The guys really pitched in the second half, but we can't just play rugby in the second 40 minutes, we have to play the full game, something we did not do against the Cheetahs. It is really something we need to work on,” Lions flanker and captain Derick Minnie said. – Sapa