Mitchell a disappointed coach
Johannesburg - Lions mentor John Mitchell was not impressed with his team’s performance after narrowly beating the Pumas 31-27 in Johannesburg on Friday.
The Kiwi said despite the unconvincing display there still was a whole season ahead of them to fix the mistakes they have made in their Currie Cup opener.
“I was disappointed but at the end of the day we will take the win and become better,” said Mitchell.
“We are still too individual for my liking and some individuals still choose to serve the self-first before the team.
“They’ll find out the hard way if they don’t change.”
Mitchell said despite the mistakes, they would take some lessons out of the game that would serve them well in the weeks to follow.
“What do you get out of an outstanding performance in week one? I guess I’d rather know the weaknesses right now,” he said.
“A lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about has been our own doing and I’d rather know that now.”
The Johannesburg team trailed by one point after the first-half after the Pumas enjoyed most of the possession and field position but saved face in the second-half to clinch the victory.
“In the first half we lacked playing rugby in the right end of the field but in the second half we actually played in the right end of the field and ticked over the scoreboard and eventually got there,” the coach said.
Mitchell said flyhalf Burton Francis -- who racked up 21 of his team's points with a try, two conversions and four penalty conversions – did not dictate the game well enough.
“I thought Burton kicked well but I don’t think he drove the game well enough to my liking,” said Mitchell.
“I think he was too lazy in getting into the position to drive the game well.”
He did, however, have kinder words for other members of the team singling out winger Lionel Mapoe who returned from injury, lock Franco van der Merwe and replacement fullback Michael Killian for their good performances.
Mitchell said he was also delighted with the way his team countered the Pumas’ strong points.
“We scrummed well which is one of their strengths and we eventually stopped their major strength, the maul on the goal-line,” he said.
“In those areas we were particularly good.”