Vodacom Super Rugby
Depleted Lions welcome bye
Johannesburg - Their upcoming bye weekend could not have come at a better time for the beleaguered Lions side.
Another drubbing and two seemingly serious lock injuries on Saturday added to their nightmare season on a night when the 32-18 loss to the Bulls at Coca-Cola Park probably flattered the home side.
A two-week break until they play the Brumbies may also banish the poor performances of the past two weeks from their minds, but there is little hope that any of their injured players, with the exception of wing Michael Killian, will be fit for the tour to Australasia. Their first tour match is against log leaders, the Chiefs, on May 5.
"We didn't deserve to win," coach John Mitchell said. "We showed a lot of immaturity again. There's no bad luck, we deserved to lose."
Inexperience, and not keeping to the game plan, were blamed by Mitchell for the below-par performance.
"We failed to learn the lessons, and how long can they keep on learning? The tight five were again average. Individualism is killing us."
Lions captain Josh Strauss summed up the problems afterwards:
"We let ourselves down in the middle [part of the game]," said Strauss.
"It is something that we have to get right."
Both sides were left to wait on news of their injuries. Bulls prop Dean Greyling was not happy from early on and was replaced by Frik Kirsten after 26 minutes. Dewald Potgieter's first taste of the competition lasted only 12 minutes in his comeback off the bench after severing tendons in his wrist two months ago. He has what is feared could be a serious hamstring injury.
The Lions lost two more locks when Stephan Greeff was taken off after 46 minutes with replacement Marius Coetzer also in the wars late in the game.
The Bulls, picking up full points from the game, draw even with the Stormers on the log.
Both are now on 29 points after seven matches, but while the Bulls have two defeats to the Stormers' one they boast a vastly superior points differential (97 to 42). Five bonus points to the Stormers' one have put them on equal terms on the log.