Slow start worries Lions captain Cronje
REACTION: Ross Cronje admits Golden Lions will have to go back to the drawing board despite their sensational comeback against Free State Cheetahs on Friday.
The Golden Lions were down 0-19 after just 30 minutes. However, they scored three unanswered tries and eventually secured a 24-22 win in Bloemfontein.
The result means that the Lions are now on top of the Currie Cup table standings and the only unbeaten team in the competition.
It seems like the come-from-behind wins have become a regular occurrence for the young and inexperienced Lions team. Friday’s success was the third time this season that the side bounced back from a massive deficit to seal a victory.
Against the Pumas, they overturned a 16-point deficit to eventually walked away with a 38-37 win, while last week at Newlands after trailing 10-21 at the break they scored two tries for the 30-28 victory.
These results are certainly a good testament to the team’s never-say-die attitude, however for season campaigner captain Ross Cronje, allowing teams to dominate the opening minutes is a worrying sign.
“We are making it hard for ourselves by allowing teams to score two or three tries in the first couple of minutes – resulting in us always being on the backfoot,” Cronje told reporters after the match in Bloemfontein.
“Think that is one of our biggest work-ons. We got to go back to the drawing board and have a good look at ourselves. Review what we doing right and also look at one or two things we need to change,” he added.
*Set play stats:
Aside from conceding early tries, another area where the Lions certainly need to improve is their scrums. The Johannesburg-based team managed to win three scrums compared to Cheetahs’ six.
But, as the game gradually proceeded the pack gained momentum and when it really mattered they produced a massive scrum two minutes from time to win a crucial penalty.
Commenting on the overall performance, Cronje admitted Cheetahs were the better side, but believe the inexperienced side’s fight proved to be the difference.
“Cheetahs are a quality team, very well-coached and the players like Ox Nche and the experience Ruan Pienaar – who just came back – will help them.
“They have loads of firepower and attacking skills.
“They were certainly the better side the only difference was our fight. While the penalty and try just before halftime was a momentum changer which gave the guys a bit of belief.
The Golden Lions’ next match is against the Blue Bulls in Johannesburg on August 10 followed an encounter against the Sharks on August 18.