Mitchell: Lions can be better

2011-10-23 19:11

Johannesburg - Golden Lions coach John Mitchell believes his side can go up another notch despite a convincing 29-20 win over Western Province in their Currie Cup semi-final at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

Mitchell said after the match that the tight five had laid the foundation for an all-round stellar team performance.

"We have to run up again, I think there is still more in us and we can go up another notch. We’ll go and have a look at the drawing board - we haven’t changed too much of our game," Mitchell said.

"It was a very good performance by the guys, a very good team performance. They looked composed, but we certainly can become more accurate. It was nice and physical tonight (Saturday) which was good.

"I think it started from the tight five, it [their performance] fed off that starting point. We scrummed well and we built a lot more pressure."

The Lions' tight five dominated most of the proceedings with the loose trio of captain Joshua Strauss, Michael Rhodes and man-of-the-match Derick Minnie also putting in hard graft.

Mitchell’s charges will now face the Sharks, in what will be their first home final since 2002 - when they lost 31-7 to the Blue Bulls.

The Johannesburg-based side's physical performance will hold them in good stead when they face arguably the best South African forward pack in the Sharks.

"We have to turn up again, as I said. I think there is still more in us and we can go up another notch," Mitchell said.

"A couple of our tactics worked for us tonight that I think surprised Province tonight."

The Sharks' and the Lions' semi-final victories set the stage for the battle between the coastal side's coach John Plumtree and Mitchell, who both hail from Hawera in Taranaki, New Zealand.

When the two coaches go head-to-head, their teams also play for the unofficial Hawera Cup.

Mitchell did not want to comment on his friendship or the mini-contest with Plumtree, explaining that his commitment and focus remained with the Lions going into the final.

He said the team would try to stick to the same pre-match build up they had followed throughout the season.

"We are just a step closer and it is important to just enjoy this moment and try to keep the week as normal as possible, and just go for it next week," he said.

"All we've done is present ourselves with what we’ve been looking of the whole year.

"So all we can control is our own performance and look after our own preparation."


  • Soetdoring - 2011-10-23 20:39

    Amazing ... 2 New Zealand coaches to contest our CC final. Says a lot from the quality of our SA coaches.

  • Kevin - 2011-10-23 21:00


  • Nico - 2011-10-23 21:41

    One more win LIONS, and the cup is back at Ellispark where it belongs :)

      andriescombrinck - 2011-10-24 09:08

      Is jy so bietjie suurgat dat jou Bok-belaaide WP span nie die Leeus kon wen nie Isak?

  • Fuf - 2011-10-23 22:12

    They can be a lot better. They just knew they were playing the blind yesterday and actually just p!ssed around for 80min

  • Bob - 2011-10-23 23:13

    I am a Sharks supporter and will always be one. If, however, we were to loose to this Lions team I would not be too gutted as they have played superb rugby throughout the CC competition. May it be great final - and thank goodness the weepee fancy fellas are not there!

      Lionel - 2011-10-24 07:20

      I know a lot of Sharks supporters and 90 % of them said thank goodnes that we are not playing Province in the final,boys scared of us????????????

      Skinfaxi - 2011-10-24 10:29

      @Lionel – The reason why the Sharks would prefer to be playing the Lions is that they dominated them in both CC encounters this year. In the first game the Sharks were heavily penalised despite being the team going forward. I did warn you last week that you should be worried about Peyper. Some of those decisions were DODGE!!!

      Lionel - 2011-10-24 11:26

      Skins,yes you did warn us/me about Peyper but I am not going to blame him,Lions deserved there victory and were the better side on the day.Good luck to you and your team Saturday,gonna be a cracker of a final!!!!!!!!

  • Vickers - 2011-10-24 06:00

    Lions, the one team that deserves this cup. Had a great CC season right from the word go. Also interesting that the two teams with the least obnoxious supporters are playing in the final.. GO LIONS!!!!

  • Ockie - 2011-10-24 06:51

    It will be a great contest. The Sharks have an excellent pack of forwards and the Lions need to match them upfront. Go Lions! .... but ... may the best team win!

      Mark - 2011-10-24 18:07

      @Okie I agree, but i hope the best team will be the Lions.

  • deonk - 2011-10-24 08:18

    @Isak...Is die wp wen gewoond of choke hulle in groot games? Kyk bq na hoe jy jouself gedra op die website. Jy is soos 'n kind.

  • Douglas - 2011-10-24 08:39

    The whole week we were told we would never make it because the Bok's are back! But the resolve of the boys proved to be much more than the WP expected! Well done LIONS!!! To the Sharks - see you at the Coke Tin on Saturday! May the best team win!!!!! " GO LIONS!!!! "

  • Lucas - 2011-10-24 09:07

    @ Isak, relax sir you will pop a vein,you are a bad loser, same as your team

  • chazfury - 2011-10-24 10:48

    Haka haka LIONS!!

  • Grant - 2011-10-24 10:51

    It is remarkable what a good coach can achieve with players that most regard as either has-beens or never-beens. Minnie must be, second to Brussouw, the best fetcher in SA at the moment. Hollenbachs' transformation has been remarkable. Jantjies is becoming more and more consistent. Taute sure looks like a brilliant prospect, and he's not scared of the rough stuff. In my opinion best move was to make Strauss the captain. He deserves as much credit as Mitchell in leading and inspiring this team. All luck to you guys for the final. Win or loose, youve made your supporters proud.

  • Eben - 2011-10-24 11:01

    GO SHARKS GO...!!! If the Lions play like they did on Saturday you will need to pull up your socks...

  • Gavin - 2011-10-24 11:03

    The sharks have a better front row than the lions, but John Mitchell's game plan was spot on Saturday. He targeted the weak link in the Province team. He got his lock Franko vd Merwe to slice through Jean and Jaque like a hot knife through butter. Sharks might have to be verrrrrrrrrry carefull. May the best team win.

  • jacques.ackermann - 2011-10-24 14:34

    @isak as a sharks supporter all i can say is keep your support. WP and there rubbish coaching staff can watch the game at home. lions play a great game and likes to attack attack attack. that is the proper way of paying rugby. Allister no cups coetzee is useless. he needs to be replaced. he can go back to coaching the EP. does not seem like things have changed since he coached them to bottom of the log in the first devision. the WP backline lacks speed and is so deep on attack they are creating no momentum. but that do you expect from that plonker coach robbie fleck. if we lose to the lions i wont mind. they have been the form side this year playing some amazing running rugby. but on the other side of the coin the sharks played like rubbish on saterday and managed to get a win so it all depend on the day. hope its a good game. good luck to the lions and my boys the sharks.

  • Johan - 2011-10-29 18:33

    i will rather support the leoperds than to see sharks play like that selling the game

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