Coach Swys de Bruin says the Lions achieved a ‘pass mark’ in Sunday’s pre-season win over the Sharks in Cape Town, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Kicking off the ‘SuperHero Sunday’ double header, both the Lions and Sharks battled to find any real rhythm to their play, although the Johannesburg-based side ultimately did enough to clinch a scrappy 19-14 victory.
The Lions are set to get their Super Rugby campaign under way with a challenging away game against the Jaguares on 16 February, and De Bruin suggested that would be the real litmus test for his side.
‘I’m just relieved in the sense that there were no injury worries [on Sunday]. In these sort of games, you don’t want to show too much, and you just desperately hope there won’t be any injuries. For a first game of the season, with a lot of guys coming back, I’ll give it a pass mark, but not a good pass.
‘Our DNA is to play [ambitious rugby], and with the loose forwards we have, we want to give the ball some air,’ De Bruin added. ‘We made use of a big squad, and it’s difficult to maintain momentum when you’re making lots of changes, but there are no big concerns.’
Captain Warren Whiteley admitted that it was a rather rusty performance, but insisted that the Lions know exactly where they stand, heading into a new season.
‘It was a bit stop-start. It felt quite slow, to be honest, and the game just didn’t get going. I thought we played well in periods, but didn’t capitalise well enough on all the possession and territory we had. Our discipline and turnovers cost us a bit, but we were trying some new combinations.’
Whiteley said the team would need to significantly improve their intensity when they take on the Jaguares.
‘We were a bit lethargic and slow at lineout time, and the transition from the lineout also wasn’t what it should have been. We lost too much ball there. We know what we need to work on, but I did think there were some encouraging moments on attack.’
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