'Expensive lessons’ for Lions
CURRIE CUP REACTION: The Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen refused to make any excuses after his team’s second defeat of the season to the Bulls.
It was an evenly-contested first half as the Bulls held a slender one-point (17-16) lead at the break.
However, in the second half, the Lions faded and visitors turned up the heat for the commonalty 48-21 win at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The result sees the Bulls cement their spot at the top, while the Lions are in fifth place.
Van Rooyen and Bulls coach Jake White made wholesale changes to their respective teams following challenging midweek matches.
But while the defending champs showed their class with an impressive performance, the Lions struggled and their lack of depth remains the ongoing concern.
#ICYMI: The @BlueBullsRugby cemented their place at the top of @TheCurrieCup standings with an emphatic 48-21 win over a hapless and outclassed @LionsRugbyCo team#Rugby#CurrieCupTrophy#LIOvBULhttps://t.co/DDgY5mPN7g
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 15, 2021
When quizzed about the side’s second-half display, Lions coach Van Rooyen admitted his team was flat in the closing stages of the match.
“I can make excuses and say they are debutants, they are young however it is still a Lions game and they representing us,” Van Rooyen said, adding: “Unfortunately we got stuck and it doesn’t look good.
“We lost our set-piece structure and we never recovered from that. While a couple of penalties from the locks and loose forwards in the last 15 minutes made it really tough,”
Despite the team’s dire performance, Van Rooyen managed to find the positives.
“I’m immensely proud of the young guys.
“It is an unbelievable opportunity for the guys.
“Great to have a guy like PJ Steenkamp, who broke his leg twice, finally getting a senior start, same with Mandisi “Oupa” Mthiyane who came of the bench and Travis Gordon getting his first start.
“We getting unbelievable experience with the new guys but the small errors proved to be expensive lessons,”
The coach revealed that Carlu Sadie has to undergo scans after leaving the field for a head knock. While Springboks Jannie du Plessis sustained a calf injury.
The severity of the injuries has yet to be confirmed, nonetheless losing Sadie and Du Plessis is are a major blow for the Lions who will face the Western Province On Wednesday and the Sharks on Saturday.
POWER MOVES 😤 pic.twitter.com/rqqBSYwV2O
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) August 15, 2021