Assistant coach Joey Mongalo insists the Golden Lions will not alter their attacking approach in favour of a more defence-orientated game in the closing stages of the Currie Cup.
Heading into the last round of regular-season fixtures, the Lions – in fourth position – hold down a semi-final spot, but they will need to beat the Pumas to secure a place in the playoffs. A Lions loss could well mean that the Pumas move up to fourth and advance to the knockout stage instead.
In their previous five matches, the Lions have conceded 25 tries. Only Free State (33) and Griquas (30), the two bottom-ranked teams, have leaked more.
However, Mongalo says nothing should be read into the statistic because there is no real cause for concern regarding their team’s defensive effort.
‘Our defensive organisation probably requires a bit of attention, but we are not highlighting it as a cause for concern. You’ve always got to see things in context and the origins of tries give statistics a lot of context,’ he told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘Defence and attack are linked together. They feed off each other, it’s definitely part of our play.
‘We pride ourselves on trying to be a processed, focused team and when you know you’ve got a new group of players and new combinations, it’s a learning curve for everyone.’
He emphasised that the Lions would continue to pursue an expansive brand of rugby in the must-win game against the Pumas, and in the semi-final and final, should they progress that far.
‘We won’t change our approach, it will literally be more of the same. We’ve got things that have worked for us over the past five or six years, so when we’re under pressure, we don’t try to do too many fancy things. We just go back to what we know and what has worked for us in the past.
‘We’ll stick to Lions rugby, because we still play to inspire people; that remains our cause, so we will play the same brand of rugby that we’re playing and that we are known for.
‘Obviously we’ll add one or two nuances to counter the strengths of the opposition on the day and that is the Pumas on the weekend, but 90% of it will be Lions rugby.’
The clash between the Lions and Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday kicks off at 7pm.
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