Vodacom Super Rugby
Lions ready for second bite
Johannesburg - The Lions will be eager to correct their mistakes of the past when they take a second bite of the cherry in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Having witnessed the Cheetahs secure a 23-3 victory over the Waratahs, the men from Johannesburg will enter the match knowing that nothing is impossible.
“Anyone can beat anyone in this competition and they just happen to be our neighbours so we are just going to deal with it one week at a time and get on with it,” Lions coach John Mitchell said on Wednesday.
Knowing that the Bulls are yet to play the brand of rugby which ensured they won back-to-back Super 14 titles has not created increased excitement, or fear, in the camp.
“We need to be focusing on ourselves and not worry too much about what they do.
“I’m sure it will be a pretty willing contest.”
The last time these sides met the Lions suffered a 24-20 loss in Johannesburg.
With more accuracy in certain departments, like goal kicking, the result could just as well have gone their way.
Mitchell said that his team will take some positives from that match, but added that it would be foolish to think the Bulls will not up their game as well.
“That’s all in the past,” he said.
“This week is a new week and there are a lot of could have’s and should have’s and would have’s, but at the end of the day if our goal kicking success rate was a lot higher we could have been a lot higher in the competition so its about people doing their job.”
Mitchell said his team would be weary of a backlash by the defending champions who have lost their last two home games.
“The last two for them up there have been pretty tough so we’re just going to have to go up there with a positive mindset and get on with it.” The Lions mentor emphasised that his men will have to make best use of every chance they are given – something he feels they failed to do against the Western Force.
In pre-season his side managed to beat an equally intimidating Sharks outfit in the Neo-Tri Series, so his men have a fair idea of what will be required against another side that consists of many internationals.
“Leadership is about taking responsibility, and there was a moment in the Force game where we could have taken the ascendency but we chose not to and those are the sort of things we are learning the hard way.”
The Lions will announce their team for the Jukskei derby on Thursday.