The Golden Lions will have to beat the Pumas in Nelspruit on October 12 to qualify for the playoffs of this year’s Currie Cup competition.
After comfortably winning their first three games they have come unstuck in the last fortnight, suffering heavy defeats by Western Province and the Sharks. They are now fourth in the standings with 16 points, while the Pumas are fifth with 12 points.
“The Pumas game is now a straight quarter-final,” said Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen after his side suffered a 37-21 defeat in Durban on Saturday.
The Lions were well beaten in the pouring rain as they conceded four tries, while scoring three of their own. Only a good second half by the visitors prevented the Sharks from running away with the tie.
“I’m not worried,” said Van Rooyen, referring to the back-to-back defeats suffered by his team.
“Of course you never want to lose, but the Sharks played well, their pack dominated, and they controlled the circumstances better than we did. We must learn and get better.
“There was some good effort from the guys in the second half, but it’s back to the drawing board.”
Lions skipper Ross Cronje also gave credit to the Sharks. “We made some silly mistakes, but tactically the Sharks were better than us. They pounced on the opportunities they created and deserved the win.”
Cronje added the number of youngsters in the Lions team would have learned a lot from the last two weekends. The Lions are gave Western Province 60 points the week before last.
“The youngsters here have so much talent. They just need to start believing in themselves, but that will come with game-time.”
The Lions now enjoy three weeks off before returning to action on October 12 for the match against the Pumas.@jacq_west