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VIDEO: Mercurial Lions aspire to doing an Irish double

The Lions will seek to fix a couple of major flaws in their make-up as they prepare for a crucial United Rugby Championship Round 15 encounter with Munster.


Going back-to-back against Irish teams, the mercurial franchise needs to ditch their most pestiferous habit – the peculiarity of following up good performances with suboptimal displays.

Despite being one of 11 teams still in the hunt for a URC play-offs place, the Lions’ season has been littered with contradictory showings.

It started after an away win (24-23) over the Scarlets, followed by a 17-24 loss to Ulster.

They beat the Sharks in Durban (20-18), only to lose back-to-back games against the Bulls – 28-30 and Loftus Versfeld and 10-25 at Ellis Park.

It was epitomised when they beat the Sharks 40-10 at Ellis Park and produced one of their best URC displays to outgun Connacht 38-14 in Galway. However, that was followed by a lame 21-36 loss to Ospreys.


This past weekend they produced their most impressive display of the season – dispatching Leinster 44-12 at Ellis Park for the only URC win by a South African team in Round 14.

The Johannesburgers got off to a flying start, racing into a 22-0 lead after 15 minutes – a dazzling display of their attacking skill.

And when Leinster looked to come back in the second half, they backed it up with a heartwarming defensive effort that allowed them to score some great counterattacking tries.

However, they need to back that up against a Munster team that put the Bulls away (27-22) at Loftus Versfeld.


Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen admitted his team is still in a ‘backs against the wall’ situation – the need to win every remaining game.

Sitting in 11th place, with 39 points, they need to be consistent and reproduce the effort they showed against Leinster – even though there are four teams on 39 points and another two just one point further ahead.

The Stormers and Ospreys are in sixth and seventh positions (40 points), with Edinburgh, Connacht, Ulster and the Lions all on 39.

(WATCH as Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen looks ahead to facing another Irish team – an impressive and in-form Munster….)

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“Every time we have been ‘backs against the wall’ this season, we got it [a good performance],” Van Rooyen said.

“The trick is to reproduce that next week against Munster.”

The Lions coach admitted that altitude won’t be a factor, with Munster having been on the Highveld for at least 10 days since their arrival last week.

He added that a “good, honest review” will reveal the Lions still have a lot in their game they can fix.

“We have to ensure we keep that game model identity,” her said, adding: “When we get that right, we are dangerous.

“We must also ensure we do our basics very well.”

He added that their build-up will focus mostly on their own game and what they can still improve, rather than slaving through video footage of the opposition.

“We don’t want to go dragging old cows out of the ditch,” he said about looking at the past.

Like last week, they spoke about the need to ‘limit your errors’ against Irish teams, a fact that will against come up for discussion this week.



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