Lions find their groove at the right time says backline duo
With four games to play in the round-robin stage, the Lions are third in the SA Conference just two points off the top-placed Bulls.
Flyhalf Jantjies and centre Vorster agree the recent wins against the Waratahs and the Highlanders have given the Lions a boost ahead of this week’s trip to Durban for a meeting with the Sharks, and for the remainder of the campaign.
“These recent back-to-back wins were definitely good for the team,” said Jantjies yesterday.
“We’ve got a lot of new boys in the team this year and they had to get used to things in the team in the earlier rounds. We also tried a few different things, which may have led to some of the defeats we suffered.
“So yes, while the results have been inconsistent this year, we’ve learned a lot, and also shown tremendous growth. Things also fell nicely into place during our overseas tour, even if we only managed one win. The guys picked up a lot of experience and it helped us against the Waratahs and Highlanders.”
Jantjies added that the Lions were still some way off being at their best.
“I think we’re making better decisions now, and the younger players are gelling better... but we’re definitely not at our best yet.”
Vorster, who returned to the side two weeks ago for the match against the Waratahs after being left out of the squad for several weeks by coach Swys de Bruin, said he felt the Lions were peaking at the right time.
“We’re not thinking of playing in the play-offs just yet, the focus is only on the Sharks this week, but I definitely feel we’re peaking at the right time (of the season).
“The two recent wins (after the Lions’ overseas tour) have definitely served as confidence builders. They have allowed us to get some momentum and now all we need to do is build on those wins.”
Vorster has been one of his team’s stars in the last fortnight and he said the decision to drop him was one of the best things that could have happened.
“It’s great to be back playing and I’m really enjoying it,” said the 25-year-old.
“I actually told coach Swys recently that I am thankful for what he did. It was a wake-up call for me. It made me hungry to play again, to get into the best shape and form that I could. I’ve come back better and stronger, and focused on the basics. There’s also no additional pressure on me; I can just go out there and express myself.”
De Bruin will name his line-up for the trip to Durban tomorrow.@jacq_west