Bloemfontein - Free State Cheetahs captain Boom Prinsloo praised his side
for playing the full 80 minutes to beat the Golden Lions 26-23 in their Currie
Cup game in the Free State Stadium here on Friday.
The hosts are now second on the log pending the results of Saturday's other
Currie Cup games between Griquas and the Sharks and the Blue Bulls and Western
Province, but for the time being No 8 Prinsloo, is relieved that his team stood
their ground for victory.
The Cheetahs nearly squandered a half time lead of 23-3 and gave the Lions
ample chance to make a comeback, with a penalty by Cheetahs winger Riaan Smit
the only difference.
"We made it very difficult for ourselves in the second half, but I am
glad that the guys kept their cool and did not lose their concentration. In the
end we finished well," said Prinsloo.
"This Lions team never gives up. Credit must go to my team mates for
playing until the final whistle. I am really proud of the effort they put
The Cheetahs looked impressive in the lineouts, but struggled in the scrums
with the Lions' Springbok front rower CJ van der Linde an important factor.
"Our lineouts improved a lot since last week after we worked hard on it
in our preparation, but our scrums weren't up to scratch. We are still
struggling a bit with the timing and the new calls, but we need to rectify that
this coming week," Prinsloo added.
"Next week we play the Sharks. It is always tough to travel to Durban.
But if we can build on the momentum we now have after beating the Lions we can
not only beat the Sharks in their own back yard, but really finish well this
season," Prinsloo added.
The Lions followed their lacklustre performance in the first half with a
stellar 40 minutes in the second, but in the end good tries by winger Anthony
Volmink and replacement full back Ruan Nel were not enough to see the visitors
travel back to Johannesburg with a win.
"We struggled to get into our rhythm in the first half and made it very
difficult for ourselves. The guys really pitched in the second half, but we
can't just play rugby in the second 40 minutes, we have to play the full game,
something we did not do against the Cheetahs. It is really something we need to
work on," Lions flanker and captain Derick Minnie said.