Cronje warns Lions against complacency ahead of Waratahs clash
Cronje believes the Lions, like a number of other teams in the competition, have been caught out by resting on their laurels when playing at home this year.
The Lions, unlike in recent seasons when they were almost unbeatable at Ellis Park, have struggled to dominate opponents there this year.
They have lost to the Bulls (30-12) and Sharks (42-5) and only just scraped past the Rebels (36-33) and weren’t convincing against the Jaguares (47-39).
“Any team can beat any team on the day,” said Cronje this week ahead of the visit by the Waratahs this weekend.
“I believe playing at home is still an advantage, but some teams maybe get a bit complacent being at home and the players might think that the result will just happen, instead of making it happen.”
He added that the Lions would have to be switched on this weekend. “We showed what we can do by beating the Chiefs away and I still maintain that when we’re on song we can beat the best; we just have to switch on from the first minute. Then we’re not an easy team to beat.”
The Lions have had a difficult few weeks that saw coaches Swys de Bruin and Joey Mongalo leave the team environment for some time, but Cronje is hopeful the return of the two coaches to the set-up this week and the fact the team are coming off a bye week will boost them against the Waratahs.
“The coaches have had a bit more time to assess the Waratahs and with us having a bye last weekend, we’ve been able to freshen up mentally,” said Cronje. “It’s good to get away from things and coming back this week we’re excited again and ready to do our thing.”
While the Lions’ results have been inconsistent this season, which has left them in fifth place in the SA Conference with five wins from 10 matches with six to play, Cronje believes the best is still to come.
“I think our game is coming together nicely again. The boys are all on the same page and I think crucially we just have to keep things a little more simple than has been the case up to now. We also need to play with freedom again.
“Of course we’d like to win every game from here on in, but it’s no use focusing too far ahead. We’ve got a lot to do to get into the play-offs again, but we just have to take it one game at a time.”
De Bruin will name his team for the Waratahs match around lunchtime today.@jacq_west