Frustration and growth in Lions camp
REACTION: Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen was left frustrated by his team’s constant mistakes in their 10-26 United Rugby Championship Round Four loss to Ulster in Belfast on Friday.
The Johannesburg franchise’s latest defeat means they will now head home to South Africa with six points from their four games on tour.
Despite being only 10-12 down at the break, the Lions struggled to build momentum in the game with handling errors and poor decision-making proving costly.
“We managed to build a lot of pressure and then when we get to 10 or 15 metres from the opponents’ goal-line there is a small error and that is the frustration,” said Van Rooyen.
“I think we were competitive for a long period and that probably makes it even more frustrating.
“There was some unbelievable work rate and physicality out there tonight [Friday]. It’s just about decreasing the errors and getting some more consistency.”
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— United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) October 15, 2021
The Lions started their tour with a win over Zebre (38-26) in Parma before losing their next three games against the Scarlets (13-36), Glasgow Warriors (9-13) and Ulster.
Despite this, Lions captain Burger Odendaal believes there has been significant growth within the squad.
“It’s been a massive tour for us. It’s not the results that we wanted but I feel there was improvement,” said Odendaal.
“Other than the Scarlets, there was improvement every single week. I am very excited to go back [to SA] and some of these teams will have to come over and play us on the Highveld.
“It is just another opportunity for us as a team to grow.
“We are not happy or satisfied, but I think we are starting to get that belief that we can put teams under pressure.
“Ulster are one of the top teams in the competition and I felt we gave them a run for their money tonight. There were glimpses of great moments and then a couple of errors crept in.”