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The brutal truth about Lions' loss in Durban

REACTION: Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen admitted his team was ‘ill-equipped’ for the testing conditions they experienced in Durban at the weekend.


The Sharks improved their United Rugby Championship play-off prospects with a 37-10 bonus-point win over the Lions in a game that was played in wet and difficult conditions at Kings Park in Durban at the weekend.

Heavy rains that fell over the coastal city in KwaZulu-Natal meant the conditions were not suited to the Lions’ expansive, fast-paced game.

The Sharks dominated the set pieces and the contact area.

The Lions coach admitted the Sharks were ‘tactically’ a lot better than his team in the monsoon-like conditions at Kings Park.

He said his team will be better off for the experience, despite the margin of the defeat.

“It was massive lessons for out No.9 [Morne van den Berg], No.10 [Jordan Hendrikse] and No.15 [Quan Horn],” Van Rooyen said.


“The Sharks’ decision-making on how to kick and when to kick was sublime.”

Not only did the Lions spend long periods in their own half, but they also gifted the Sharks “easy turnovers”, which the hosts used effectively to “punish” the men from Johannesburg.

Van Rooyen is adamant that the weekend’s loss is not a true reflection of where they are as a team.

“Just like the Sharks were more adept and equipped to these [rainy] conditions, we are more adept against international opposition at altitude.”


However, the real lessons were the tactics that helped them secure those four consecutive wins are not the advantage the conditions bring.

“With a good kicking game, attack and defensive structures we have improved and have become more dynamic,” the coach said.

He added that in their next two home games – Connacht (April 23) and Benetton (April 30) – the key is to speed the game up,” Van Rooyen said, adding: “We must play an exciting, dynamic game to try and take the opposition’s legs away as soon as possible.”

While they only have three games left before concluding the season, there are six to seven weeks of preparation to work on the shortcoming that was shown up at the weekend.

They conclude their season with an away game against the Dragons at Rodney Parade, in Newport, on May 21.


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