Lions need to up the ante

2011-03-07 08:01

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – Super Rugby victories are not just going to fall into the Lions’ laps - they are going to have to work hard for them.

The merciless nature of the tournament left the Lions with empty hands after Friday’s defeat against the Blues.

The same scenario has befallen the Cheetahs, who are the Lions’ next opponents. However, that won’t make the Cheetahs easy opponents in Bloemfontein because you simply don’t get anything like that in this tournament.

“We won’t be rewarded if we don’t deserve it,” Lions coach John Mitchell said after the defeat of 32-41 against the Blues.

Like the losses against the Bulls and Stormers, the Lions could have won the game. However, they did not keep their heads.

“I knew from the outset that I would have to be patient with this group of players. We simply have to become more professional. There is still a lot of work ahead,” said Mitchell.

“I don’t think there is a problem with the intellect in the side. The problem is an emotional one and we still have to believe in ourselves more. We are still growing because 11 of the boys just played their third Super Rugby game.

“But expectations are high and, above all, we have to win games.”

Blues coach Pat Lam praised the Lions and believes their first victory since May 2009 is around the corner.

“My players and I agreed before the game, and afterwards, that this team (the Lions) will still beat a lot of sides.”

The Lions will know on Monday how serious the concussion is that scrumhalf star Jano Vermaak suffered against the Blues.

Rory Kockott may play in Vermaak’s place against the Cheetahs. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies will also be hoping that he gets another opportunity.


  • RJ - 2011-03-07 08:04

    Well lion's This week you will definatley beat the cheaters, as will the stormers Otago.

  • Johnny - 2011-03-07 08:11

    ....get rid of quota Elton Jantjies....

      Pedro - 2011-03-07 08:19

      Rubbish - he is a talented player who needs to be handled properly and not thrown to the wolves.

      Oukoos - 2011-03-07 08:44

      Pedro may be talented, but he is just not S15 material. He should grind his teeth on Vodacom level and may be, just may be he may come through in a year or two. By forcing him to continue playing on this level, the Lions are creating another Earl Rose.

      GlenQuagmire - 2011-03-07 09:18

      Please get rid of him, play Jantjies in the vodacom cup and bring in Pretorius. Jantjies is far too light in the pants for super rugby. Just because he can can kick for the posts (occasionally) doesn't make up for his piss poor tactical kicking and glory boy antics. Compare him to any number 10 in Super rugby at the moment and see how crap this guy is . Mitchell, please groom your players in the Vodacom cup, the Lions dont need another Earl Rose.

      Johnny - 2011-03-07 09:19

      ....jip, ....another Earl Rose in the making.....

      Bosduif - 2011-03-07 10:43

      Johnny to compare Jantjies with Rose you just showed all of us you know zero about the game of rugby. Nice one.

      Oukoos - 2011-03-07 13:47

      Bosduif, 100% true. No comparison. Even Earl Rose was not as kak as Jantjies.

      Andrew - 2011-03-07 16:56

      He's no quota! He's damn good at what he does - when he gets into the rythm. He is young, and needs to build experiance. JM has shown faith in him and thats good enough for me. everyone needs to be given a chance when they start out. Wish people would stop "hating" on Elton.

      StefJo - 2011-03-08 09:58

      It is so sad to know that when Jantjies sink your teams in the next couple of weeks, all these comment will be forgotten....

  • RQd2 - 2011-03-07 08:25

    Time to give Pretorius a run. Say what you like, he's experienced and got a cool head...

      guyedwardpark - 2011-03-07 08:36

      I 100% agree. Elton is a good player but is seriously not in form at the moment. He single handedly lost the Lions the first 2 games and had a big part in loosing against the Bulls. He needs to warm the bench for a bit!

      Ondier - 2011-03-07 13:01

      Im Not fond of either of them but we definatley have nothing to loose if we could just try Pretorius another game or 2. im certain the results will change, simply because he is confident enough.

  • ApolloZA - 2011-03-07 08:31

    Jantjies is talented, but started too early with the big games. Why not let him play vodacom cup for a bit so he can find his feet?

  • rugby_guru - 2011-03-07 09:04

    Lets face facts, the Lions should have won that game against the Bulls, they where by far the stronger team. Sorry Lions that you are stuck in the propaganda of the country, us South Africans know you the stronger team. I hope you guys get a fair chance this year, I know how despondent you must feel, how can you keep coming with your best when you clearly never get a chance at it? You truly should have wiped the ground with the useless game the Bulls Played (well actually a good game if you compare to how truly pathetic they are) and if you had gone on to win that game, your spirits would have been lifted up and you would have walked over the blues too. I'm truly sorry, but don't worry us South Africans will not let this country go to the dogs, the Bulls reign at power is a short one, that is now over, and soon their bribes will be worth nothing and soon all their players will leave, knowing what goes on behind closed doors. Sorry once again Lions, you truly are an inspiration to the Game of Rugby, and you make us South Africans proud.. By the way I am a Sharks supporter, so know this is not a biased point of view, I just needed to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      RJ - 2011-03-07 09:20

      And what about the stormers surely they should have won us as we did not have game time super rugby...Sharks Suck!!!!!, but they are paying good rugby.

  • chris - 2011-03-07 09:13

    Kyk en luister nou baie mooi!!!!!!!!!!! ons sal nooit wen as ons nie saam speel op ons oppenente se doel lyn nie waar op deesaarde sien jy dat Jantjies alleen sal deurkom en so ook die ander ,en as jy duik vir die doel lyn dan moet jy dit so laag as moontlik doen dan kan hulle nie die bal by kom en uit jou hande stamp nie ons moet saam deur druk en punte kry dis al

  • Sh@rks Fever - 2011-03-07 09:13

    What the Lions need is an inspirational leader. Some might disagree but I truely believe the Sharks should transfer John Smit to the Lions. The Sharks has moved on and Bismarck and Burden is more than capable. John Smit is just out of his depth at the Sharks but if he can lead the Lions in the way he does with the Boks they will start winning games. No disrespect to Bandisa Maku but the Lions don't only need a good hooker. They need a great leader. This way Smit will also get more game time and go on to lead the Boks come the WC. And we need to face facts he is going to captain the boks in the WC.

      Bosduif - 2011-03-07 10:45

      I agree with you leader wise but the Sharks can keep John Smit.

      philipk007 - 2011-03-07 10:49

      I agree... But we do have Butch on his way. I truly hope he can be the leader to us that you suggest we need.

      roboman1 - 2011-03-07 11:16

      I am sure you are sincere in your effort to propose such drivel, which only leads to demonstrate your intellectual midgetry.

      StaalBurgher - 2011-03-07 14:40

      lol, "intellectual midgetry".. I am banking that one for future use if you don't mind.

  • LionsFan - 2011-03-07 10:20

    Jantjies(Need to learn to kick for touch and not down the oppents throat) is not the problem -we as a team need to work on DEFENSE !!!!!!!! and not try to run out of our own 22 ,Players need to have a look at how many fan showed up on friday to watch them and get some pride and motivation ,Pretorius has a lot to prove before he should play super rugby .I hope the fan can stick with the LIONS and start showing up at home games and support the guys -Give the team a real home advantage -maybe let kockett take few kicks will take some pressure off Jantjies and will let him play his natural game

      Stacey - 2011-03-07 13:49

      I think U have a valid point as I myself am a huge fan of my LIONS & I think the rest of the team needs to look at ball delivery & try to create more space & time for Jantjies so he can make the right desions, YES not try to run the ball out of the 22 every time & use the boot. But overal I think its inexperiance that really let us down & hopefully this is but a learning curve, we cant expect to actualy win this just yet so paitiance is the key. Once we taste that 1st victory I know we will have something to build on, I believe it

  • roboman1 - 2011-03-07 11:03

    John Mitchell must realise he is paid to win games not mouth platitudes week after week. Give the kicking to Rory Kockott, the Lions players are paid to perform, this is not a training school, if Jantjies cannot kick 80% hand the job over to someone else. Jano Vermaak, knocked on twice, missed to line receives and was was often not at the base of the loose scrum to clear the ball. Use Kockott as your starting half back and kicker, that way Jantjies can just play his game. But most of all, Mitchell needs to start understanding that he is expected to win some games.

      Jimmyboy - 2011-03-07 13:37

      Elton got 5 out of 6 kicks on friday. . . thats 83% by the way. Agreed he had shocker the first two games but then he fixed it. And im sure mitchell knows he needs to win games. And I will not make excuses but I will point out that lions played last years champions bulls who have over 10 boks, then the runner ups stormers another team with over 8 boks, and then the blues who beat crusaders in their first game. Im just pointing that out. But after that being said Lions should have won all 3 games. Inexperience showing its hand in this team. . .

  • Bosduif - 2011-03-07 11:07

    I hope JM gave Franco a calculator because he needs one.

  • StaalBurgher - 2011-03-07 14:43

    I don't quite understand what this crusade against Elton is. He has played alright. His tactical kicking is not going so well but other than that he does make useful breaks, passes sharply and close to the opposition defence. Maybe he overuses that reverse pass a bit but overall he is promising. He must just practice the kicks and it is no use to do it in a lower pressure environment like the Vodacom Cup. He deserves more of a run before you guys can close the book on him like this.

      Theuns.Van - 2011-03-09 13:14

      Finally someone with some sense :)

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