Mitchell: No prizes for 2nd

2011-02-21 08:48

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – “No, I’m not satisfied. There are no prizes for second place.”

Finally, a Lions coach that refuses to just accept defeats by offering excuses about a building process, lack of experience or other factors.

John Mitchell’s Lions nearly shook the Bulls with a fightback in the second half that almost spurred them to a famous Vodacom Super Rugby victory. The Bulls won the Jukskei Derby 24-20 at Coca-Cola Park.

When Mitchell was asked about the positives of his team’s performance, it was as if he was indignant.

“I’m not interested in coming second. We will have to learn our lessons fast. If we want to be the best in the country and in our conference, we have to win the close games. We let this one slip. I’m not interested in people praising one another because they came close to winning,” said Mitchell.

It was clear from the fightback that the Lions have been transformed into a side that believes mediocrity is for the birds. That is why there will be some straight talk about the issue of individualism, which also featured in Mitchell’s half-time team-talk.

It’s no surprise that the two youngest players were guilty of it in the first half. They are flyhalf Elton Jantjies and fullback Jaco Taute.
Taute took a heavy blow to the face and was replaced by James Kamana after 27 minutes.

Jantjies took his admonishment by Mitchell to heart and was part of a team effort that had the Bulls gasping for air with the kind of high-tempo running rugby that the Lions like to play.

“The plan was always to stretch the Bulls (on defence). But some of our players chose not to do that in the first half,” said Mitchell.

“The individuals did what they wanted to and that really cost us. It’s clear that we have the answer when we stick to the plan.”

Part of the plan is to hold onto the ball at all cost and not to give away possession with pointless kicks. When the Lions used possession as they had planned in the second half, they looked a very exciting team.

Kamana, wing Michael Killian and centre Waylon Murray were suddenly inspired on attack.


  • Johnny - 2011-02-21 08:52

    ....poor stormbarians... ....another hiding waiting for them......!! .......Go Lions..!! ...Go Lions...!!!!

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-21 09:50

      Poor comes your teacher......!!.....Another hiding awaiting you.......!! Go teacher....!! ...Go Teacher.....!!!!

      TEEJAYCEE - 2011-02-21 13:56

      good luck

  • James - 2011-02-21 08:56

    One day ...... watch this space ........... :)

      GraemeBB - 2011-02-21 09:35

      When is one day going to happen - cant watch this space forever. The time is now!!

  • Pipes - 2011-02-21 09:00

    Although am a Shark supporter, I need to comment on the play of Jantjies. Since last year I have maintained that he is the proverbial 'flash in the pan'. He played one or two good games and suddenly he is the new golden boy flyhalf - even 'poksing' the young player of the year award from a guy like Lambie. Laughable. I am of the opinion that Jantjies still has a long way to go and that the Lions should rather give Burton Francis more game time. Now there is talent which, for some reason is getting a raw deal. I would not go as far as saying that Jantjies is another Earl Rose, but this is clearly a case of trusting "King Carlos' " opinion to soon...

      Johan - 2011-02-21 09:13

      I think Jantjies got a lot of talent....he likes to run with the ball he distribute the ball he can defend.....maybe I am wrong. I think time will tell! Silly decisions made by him (try) but I think great comeback in the 2nd half.

      Fikile - 2011-02-21 10:54

      What u smoking in your Pipes, think the sharks, stormers better watch out. Mitchelle is taking no prisoners.

      alwaysthinking365 - 2011-02-21 11:09

      @pipes: wow but that is unfair. Jantjies was one of the reasons the lions were so good in the currie cup last year. he was one of the driving forces. He led and the others followed. Jantjies has peformed remarkably well in a WEAKER team (than the sharks), something that is tough to do. But he is still very young, still very inexperienced and there will be some downs to go with the many ups, but what a talent! To compare him to Earl Rose is so unfair

      Juggernaut - 2011-02-21 11:44

      @alwaysthinking365 LOL what have you been smoking!!Oh yes sorry another one of those that don't watch the games and speaks on behalf of results. The Lions were poor in the beginning of Currie cup last year but beat the Bulls and Sharks last stretch of season winning 5-6 in a row. The Lions were not poor when Jantjies played well so get your facts straight. Jantjies is still young and to say the least he cost us with poor goal kicking and poor tactical decisions. Francis will get his chance sooner than later. Jantjies still has a very long road in front of him.

      seeps.mazi - 2011-02-21 11:47

      Pipes I'm not sure about the comparison to Earl Rose however I do agree that Lambie looks a more complete player with more time on the ball than most, I would play Burton Francis a lil more and wean Jantjies into the set up and get him playing his game in the last 20mins of the 2nd half? @Fikile I think you are too optomistic but I guess it's this way all over Joburg...... They may beat the Stormers this time cos they catch them cold and I don't think they will trump the Sharks.

      Wow! - 2011-02-21 12:03

      No doubts that Jantjies has heaps of talent. Needs to be tutored BUT that is happening. This Lions team are going to knock some of the BIG teams this year. Well done Mitchell and Spencer. Well done Lions! Yes second is not adequate BUT you are looking good.

      alwaysthinking365 - 2011-02-21 15:44

      @Juggernaut: I watch all the games. Which is how I know that: (a) this is the first bad half that Jantjies has had (he was absolutely brilliant in the second half) (b) I am not saying the Lions were poor when Jantjies played well but rather that it is far harder to perform well in a weaker team which is what the Lions have been (obvious stuff if you have any experience at all of playing sport of any description) (c) If you think Francis can lace Jantjies boots then you obviously have not watched much rugby yourself - Francis has had many many opportunities and he is average at best Jantjies has had one bad half in his Lions career and fickle people like you want him out - crazy stuff! If you were a lions selector they would have 15 new faces next week - now theres a recipe for success!!! Come on bru, be reasonable. Jantjies is still young and for his age and his limited experience he has been unbelievable

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-02-21 09:14

    There are prizes for second place. They are called silver medals.

      therealdeal - 2011-02-21 09:30

      Somerthing the Stormers are well aware of ......... runner up to Bulls (Super 14) and Sharks (Currie Cup).

      seeps.mazi - 2011-02-21 09:39

      And the Province fans know that only too well..................

      ZCV - 2011-02-21 10:00

      Ha Ha, En toe vang slim sy baas!!!!!!

      Oukoos - 2011-02-21 11:27

      Nee my broer, 'n silwer medalje beteken net mooi bugger all. Ek soek nie weer die pyn en lyding van twee verloor-eindstryde nie.

  • cajokata - 2011-02-21 09:23

    Good game between two hard teams. Pipes i dont agree with your sentiment. Jantjies shows more flair, can actually tackle and passes the ball. Something that Earl could never do. Give the chap a chance. Under the tutilage of Carlos and John he has the talent to take him to first choice flyhalf

  • nic69ers - 2011-02-21 09:25

    I agree!! If youre not first you are last!! Rip them a new one Mitchell!

  • Zandberg - 2011-02-21 09:31

    The issue with Jantjies on Saturday was the first missed penalty. He simply could not cope with the responsibility of kicking (badly) and playing. This also had a huge influence on van der Merwes' decision making there after. His general play is obviously dependant upon him kicking well. Lambies' play is not effected by mediocre kicking. First prize would be to get a dependable kicker in the team other than Jantjies and let the youngster focus on general play. I hate to say it, but maybe Kockott...

  • John - 2011-02-21 09:45

    John Mitchell you have got the lions fans support,

  • george.traut - 2011-02-21 09:51

    As a Stormers supporter, I am actually worried about this weekend. I don't think we can take the Lions if they continue to play the way they did in the 2nd half for a full 80minutes. Then again, I don't think any team can take that for a full 80minutes. When was the last time the Bulls only had 30% possesion for an entire 2nd half? It is definately going to be a cracker!

      Oukoos - 2011-02-21 11:23

      As long as Jantjies plays I am not worried. He will once again throw the game away for the Lions - worse than Earl Rose

      StefJo - 2011-02-21 12:51

      @Oudoos, o sorry I mean Oukoos: Where did you learn you rugby? In Cape Town? Figures...

  • Antoinette Panton - 2011-02-21 09:57

    i live in the the eastern cape home to the bulls, sharks, stormers and a few cheetahs supports. so naturally when asked about the team i support and being a long pause before saying lions.....which was then followed by a long embarrassing laugh i hope Mitchell does "rip them a new one" as nic69ers mentioned earlier, GO LIONS!

  • Lone Ranger - 2011-02-21 10:06

    GO LIONS! Heeeeeere comes Johnny! Whoo hoo! LOVE it!

  • knight - 2011-02-21 10:11

    Good show. Bulls saved by the bell. Fourie Du Preez world class. Wyllon Murray a player to watch. Jantjies good with ball in hand ;agree that Lambie is a more mature player, but gained his confidence through a good support system at the sharks.

      PDP - 2011-02-22 09:12

      Agreed, Waylon just needs to pass the ball every now & then.

  • Jacques - 2011-02-21 12:30

    Good for South African rugby that the Lions are a team again. Article is spot-on by saying that Jantjes and Taute were the guilty parties in the beginning. The no-nonsense approach of Mitchell is what they need. Jantjes need to go practise his kicking if he is going to be the no.1 kicker. He will have to do a lot more to keep Butch and Andre out. Hope he is mature enough to grap the opportunity.

  • StefJo - 2011-02-21 13:01

    First Super rugby game for Mr. Jantjes is behind his back! Nerves will settle, kicking will improve, confidence will build, better teamplay will naturally! Look out boys, this can only get better!

  • Amanda - 2011-02-21 13:33

    John Mitchell you are the best. I love my Lions to bits and would love to see them winning the Super 15. I know they can and with your help and attitude they might just do that. Well done John and the guys.

  • TEEJAYCEE - 2011-02-21 13:59

    I am no Lions supporter, but they played a "magic" second half. They should have won that game, BUT unfortunately there was ONE guy on the field with a whistle that thinks that he is a god and all must abide by his rules. WHY IS IT THAT THE BULLS CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER, yet no yellow cards are given. There was a passage of play where du Preez tackled the opponent in the air and the ongoing fauls after that, that at least 4 players should have got yellow cards. NOTHING HAPPENED. Bakkies came into a ruck on the opponents scrumhalf side, yet nothing was done. They nearly took off Kockot's head, BUT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN. All this happened infront of the ref, but no luck. Our CORRUPT rugby board, including the corrupt refs have decided that they are going to punt the big franchises locally to have the best chance of getting through to finals and then they blow accordingly. The smaller teams like Cheetahs, Lions, etc have no chance of winning a game, because the refs will blow them off the field. Just have a look at the cheetahs game where the ref decided they engaged too early, time after time. Then he changed his mind and Sharks was at fault. The problem with all sport is the CORRUPT officials and managing bodies, that is why we are called the VAALIES down under. They just laugh at us and know you can "BUY" a ref and officials to decide the outcome of a game. SAD!!!

      supporter - 2011-02-21 14:38

      i was wondering what the stats are in all the games that Marius Jonker took a part in when the bulls were playing. bet you it will show that marius jonker have favoured the bulls in all these matches. he should be fired on the spot. somebody with guts should have a stern word with the d^&s.

      Bulla - 2011-02-21 16:17

      When you stop complaining about refs and focus on supporting your team, they might start to feel appreciated and eventually start winning. If Jonker is so biased then all refs involved in Bulls games should be biased when the Bulls win. Right?

  • minora - 2011-02-21 14:29

    @ Teejaycee, totally agree, even the commentators is bias. Hugh Bladen, why don`t you retire or train someone younger and Joel, you just sit next to him and agree. When it comes to Jantjies, he is the "little guy", when it is Morne Steyn, he is supreme. What Bull!

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-21 15:13

      Blades is soooooooo many tablets short of an overdose already...nothing he says makes much sense anymore...

  • supporter - 2011-02-21 14:30

    John Mitchell, you have turned my team around. Just shows you what a good coach can do. You and the lions team have my full support. GO LIONS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Carl Muller - 2011-02-21 18:51

    You are wrong, dead wrong! You earned our respect. Bulls forever......

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