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VIDEO: That scrum penalty hurt Lions prop deeply

VIDEO: Lions prop Asenathi Ntlabkanye is a big unit who doesn’t shy away from contact, but when a scrum penalty is awarded against his pack, it really hurts him.

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Things just didn’t go the Lions’ way in their United Rugby Championship game against Munster at Ellis Park two weeks ago.

This weekend the Lions have the opportunity to bounce back when they host Cardiff, a team that hasn’t had a good run of results this season.

Munster’s gamesmanship was on display for all to see at Ellis Park and the defending champions used every trick in the book like slowing down the game as a host of their players went down, some even at line-out or scrum time.

Ntlabakanye, speaking to the media after training next to the field at Ellis Park on Wednesday, was still in pain at the thought of that penalty scrum.

“It does hurt me, man, to be honest. I know a lot of people probably don’t look at it that way, but I take those things very personally, those little battles.

“I was quite grumpy when I got back home, you can ask my missus, for a solid 24 hours. But I got over it, learned a few lessons and I am looking forward to this weekend,” the big man professed.

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“I thought coming into the game we were very confident, but Munster showed what a world-class team they are.

“There are a few things we can take out of that game and we can learn. If you look at the game, the way they played, taking points that were available on the table. It makes it very difficult for the other team to catch up.

“We will give them credit where it’s due, they were good on the day.”

There is no doubt that Munster arrived on the Highveld with a specific plan and they executed it to precision, slowing down the game and dictating the tempo.

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“They came down here very prepared. The new Munster is a very very tough scrummaging pack, full of internationals,  guys that have been through seasons. They know what they are doing.

“And we are a good pack man, I won’t take it for granted.

“As a pack, we rate ourselves highly. But we didn’t live up to expectations two weeks ago here against Munster.

“We want to rectify that as a pack, as a unit.

“Especially scrumming wise man, I think it is something we have been very good at this season.

“We want to get back up there now.

“They were better on the day. They got a penalty scrum, and that hurt, and still hurts me now. I hope that we can bounce back this weekend against Cardiff,” Ntlabakanye said.

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But he added that the Lions did not make things easy for themselves.

“If you look at the game, we made about 50 odd tackles and they made over 100.

“We made a lot of entries into their 22 and we didn’t convert. That is something we have been working on during the week that we were off.”

The big prop also referred to the instances when Munster players went down during set-pieces while the referee seemed not to step in.

“They were very good at that. If a hooker goes down at his line-out, there’s not really much you can do. If a prop goes down during a scrum there’s not much you can do, the ref has to stop the game.

“And we just couldn’t get into a rhythm of things. It’s tough to tell a ref ‘Look we want to speed it up, we are at Ellis Park’.

“But if a hooker is down or a prop is down, we can’t really continue playing.

“It was quite frustrating, but also a few lessons learned.

“We want to be better against Cardiff [this weekend].

“There’s a certain thing we can do, there’s a certain way we can speak to the ref – a certain way you can get your message across in a much calmer way than being frustrated.”

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