Lions' Ellis Park capitulation shrouded in 'negatives'
REACTION: Lions captain Marius Louw says the negatives outweighed the positives in the final quarter of their Challenge Cup pool match against the Ospreys at Ellis Park on Sunday.
The home side fell to a 28-38 defeat to their Welsh opponents, despite having a handy 11-point lead with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.
With the clock winding down in Johannesburg, the Lions allowed the Ospreys to have 70 percent of the possession in that period and their defence crumbled in the face of adversity.
For Louw, who was one of three Lions players yellow-carded in the match, the negatives were there for all to see in the final quarter.
“From my side on the field it felt like there was dominance,” said Louw.
“We got gainline [dominance] and we had them in set-piece, so it was little things towards the end that were not good enough.
“Our defence in the beginning is what helped us. We got turnovers and we got to play in their half.
“For me, it was not having consecutive positives.
“There was a positive, then a negative and then a positive and then two negatives, which led to them scoring.
“We just need to be a little more consistent in getting positives in a row.”
Louw said his team’s defensive display was particularly disappointing.
“We let them in with our discipline and then in the last seven minutes it was our defence,” he said.
“It was not good enough. We didn’t get off the line.
“We started to wait for them and they ran onto us. They got in behind us, they got offloads and I don’t think those are our characteristics.”
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Meanwhile, Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen said the Challenge Cup result is not a major blow to their confidence levels ahead of their United Rugby Championship encounter against the Bulls in Pretoria.
“To be honest, it’s not a wake-up call before the Bulls game because I’ve got no doubt that we will be ready for it,” the coach explained.
“If you want to call it a wake-up call, then you can’t expect to just go through the emotions.
“It is a high-performance sport, so every team that you play against will want to beat you.
“We must understand that an iconic stadium [Ellis Park] like this is going to lift your opponents’ performance, so I would rather say it’s a wake-up call for us to get our systems going and more consistently.”
The Lions will travel to Italy to face Benetton in the Round of 16 of the Challenge Cup.