JOHANNESBURG – After pretty much breezing through the competition up to this last weekend, the Lions were given a royal hiding by Western Province in a Currie Cup game at the weekend that will force new coach Ivan van Rooyen into a rethink of his plans going forward.
The Lions were handed a 65-38 beating at Ellis Park on Saturday - a result that has left John Dobson’s team the hot favourites to go all the way and defend the title they won last year.
In all, the visitors scored nine tries, with Dillyn Leyds and Sergeal Petersen both getting two, while the Lions scored five tries.
“They were clinical, they played well and we didn’t play well,” was Lions boss Van Rooyen’s assessment afterwards.
“They applied pressure on us for 80 minutes, and (they) were good tactically. We, on the other hand, also made crucial errors in crucial areas of the field.
“We will have an honest review on Monday morning, and get a plan in place for the Sharks game this week. We’re simply going to have to put our boots back on and work hard.”
The Lions had earlier beaten the Griquas, Bulls and Cheetahs, while Western Province arrived at Ellis Park with impressive wins against the Cheetahs and Pumas behind them.
Van Rooyen was not a happy man after the beating, saying: “Losing a home game is not ideal, but next week is a new challenge.”
The Lions will this week have to fix the things that went wrong on Saturday ahead of facing another highly-rated opponent in the Sharks. They and Western Province are now the only unbeaten sides left in the competition.
Lions captain Marvin Orie said the 103-point game, where defence took a back seat, was a sign that South African rugby was focusing on the attacking aspect of the game. “There’s been a lot of emphasis in South Africa for attacking rugby, that’s why we’re getting such high-scoring games.
“But today (Saturday) I think Western Province simply had more intensity and energy than us, and that was the big difference.”