Lions coach Swys de Bruin says he doesn’t know what to make of the latest Vodacom Super Rugby results, including their 19-17 loss to the Stormers at Newlands. DYLAN JACK reports.
On a weekend where the Hurricanes were overrun by the Crusaders and the Brumbies slaughtered the Chiefs, De Bruin’s Lions were beaten in the 85th minute by the under-pressure Stormers.
The result ended the Lions’ four-year winning streak over the Cape side.
‘Watching Super Rugby for the first two weeks, it’s early days,’ De Bruin said. ‘All the teams can’t really get going. Defensive systems have improved and there’s just not enough space any more to attack. There is so much pressure on the carrier to minimise mistakes.
‘It’s hard to say,’ De Bruin said when asked to explain the weekend’s results. ‘I had this discussion with Fleckie [Stormers coach Robbie Fleck] before the game. The results are weird. I can’t pinpoint the reason for that. The 40-3 result at Loftus was one you can’t put against the team and I knew they would bounce back. It was a one-off.’
On the Lions’ loss, which came via a try from Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies well after the hooter had gone, De Bruin said his side should have used their dominance in the first half to greater effect.
‘But I thought we did enough to win the game,’ he added. ‘That’s the most important thing for me. When you always look back on a game, you think you should have used your chances better.
‘It’s so disappointing. I thought at half-time we had played tactically well. We knew they would come with everything after what happened at Loftus. We were ready and prepared.
‘But congratulations to Robbie and his team, fighting right to the end in the 85th minute and for surviving the Malcolm Marx steals there at the end. That was good for them. I’m glad for Fleckie. I spoke to him before the game, there is lots of pressure on him so for his sake I’m glad.’
The Lions suffered a further blow as captain Warren Whiteley went off with what was confirmed to be a pectoral injury. De Bruin admitted his team missed Whiteley’s leadership at the end of the match.
‘Wazza is an unbelievable person and leader. He’s so passionate. It was so bad for us and him that he went off. You should have seen his emotion. He’s so full of passion. But I’m still proud of guys like Elton [Jantjies] and Kwagga [Smith]. The leadership was good.
‘We will find out,’ De Bruin added on the injury. ‘It doesn’t look positive. We hope it will be alright. We will have to see.’
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