The Lions will use the enforced time off from Super Rugby to work on the areas that haven’t been up to scratch so far in this year’s competition, according to coach Ivan van Rooyen. Photo: Brett Phibbs/www.photosport.nz
The Lions will use the enforced time off from Super Rugby to work on the areas that haven’t been up to scratch so far in this year’s competition, according to coach Ivan van Rooyen. Photo: Brett Phibbs/www.photosport.nz

Lions plan to utilise downtime to improve

By Jacques vd Westhuyzen Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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The Lions will use the enforced time off from Super Rugby to work on the areas that haven’t been up to scratch so far in this year’s competition, according to coach Ivan van Rooyen.

The competition, like many sporting events across the world, has been suspended following the outbreak of the coronavirus. It is not yet known for how long it will be halted.

The players and management of the Lions will go into quarantine following their arrival back in South Africa today and tomorrow.

The Lions players flew out of Auckland straight after their 43-10 defeat at the hands of the Blues on Saturday afternoon and arrived back in Joburg late yesterday. The coaching team will arrive back today.

Saturday’s defeat at Eden Park was the fifth for the Lions in six matches this season, and their third straight defeat on tour. Right now they are bottom of the SA Conference points table.

“Obviously there are certain areas we need to work on, and we’ll keep at it,” said Van Rooyen after the match in Auckland.

“But there are certain things we’re doing better; our rucking was definitely better this week, and the scrum was good.

“In the current circumstances I don’t know when we’ll get back (to playing). We’ve been forced to be at home for 14 days, and will now do a thorough review of where we are, and how to fix (certain things).

“It’s also a good opportunity for the guys to stay healthy and stay fit.”

Van Rooyen said they would abide by Saanzar’s decision.

“Sanzaar has made the decision (to suspend the competition), as most sporting bodies in the world have done. Player welfare and safety is the priority and while it is sad for the competition, it’s also good for the people to be home. No more comment is needed,” said the Lions boss.

Looking back at the six tries to one mauling inflicted on his team by the Blues, Van Rooyen said the sin-binning of flank Ruan Vermaak just before half-time for deliberately slapping the ball down with the Blues on the attack had changed the match.

At that stage the Blues had held a slender five-point lead (15-10) but with the home team being awarded a penalty try, they jumped into a 22-10 lead at the break and made the most of their one-man advantage after the start of the second half by scoring two further converted tries.

At 36-10 up it was game over.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the result. We were in the game in the first 40 to 50 minutes, but the yellow card was expensive,” said Van Rooyen.

“In Super Rugby you can’t afford to be down to 14 men.

“And the Blues are a team high in confidence; they’ve been playing well, they’re a big, physical team, and if you give them momentum, they thrive. They played well.”

@jacq_west 


The Star

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