• Dobson: Lions setting standard

    Western Province coach John Dobson believes the Golden Lions’ model of play should serve as an example to other South African sides. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

    On Saturday the unbeaten Lions completed the perfect season as they clinched their 12th successive victory to lift the Currie Cup trophy in fine fashion.

    Despite the high-pressure nature of the match, and the weight of expectation they carried as competition front runners, the Lions stuck to an attacking, ambitious approach that they had effectively employed throughout their campaign.

    The Lions’ four tries in the final took their season tally to 60, and after the match, Dobson acknowledged that the home team deserved to be crowned champs.

    ‘Throughout the season the Lions played the best style of rugby in South Africa, we offered some entertainment to the game in the last 20 minutes, but the Lions really dominated for most of the first hour. Their style of rugby after going unbeaten throughout the season was very impressive, and they absolutely deserve to be champions. I think their model of play is something other teams in South Africa need to look at. It’s how rugby should be played for the benefit of South African rugby.’

    When Dobson’s comments were related to Johan Ackermann, the Lions coach said it was a brand of rugby that had suited his side with the playing personnel at their disposal, but he agreed that South African players were capable of embracing any style of play.

    ‘It’s a great compliment, but I think every union has their own culture and own style of play. If the country wanted to follow us, then they’d need to have the same sort of players that we have. You have to look at your team and the players you have, and then accordingly adapt your structure and way you want to play.

    ‘It’s up to the individuals and coaching staff, but I do believe in South Africa we have the ability to play any style. We have big forwards if we want to smash and bash, but then we also have backs that can play with flair. If you put a South African player in a Barbarians side, they can do what any other player can do. We [the Lions] don’t see ourselves as front runners, as a group we just decided on a certain style and backed it to work for us.’

    Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

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    Craig Lewis