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    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.

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