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Mitchell: We got out of jail
Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell says his team got out of jail in their 27-25 win over the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby match on Saturday.
"But in saying that, in the contest Elton (Jantjies) missed a couple of kicks," said Mitchell.
"We never really got going but we never stopped working for each other, they are clearly a little bit still individual and the team work is not totally there yet."
Jantjies set a new Super Rugby record, succeeding with nine penalty goals out of his 11 attempts at the posts, wiping out of the record books four players who have slotted eight three-pointers in one match in the past.
The previous record was jointly held by Jannie Kruger (Northern Transvaal v Highlanders in Pretoria, 1996), Willie Walker (Highlanders v Chiefs in Hamilton, 2003), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs v Stormers in Cape Town, 2006) and Derick Hougaard (Bulls v Crusaders in Pretoria, 2007).
The Cheetahs were in the lead for most of the encounter and at one stage led by 10 points.
However, two yellow cards and a number of penalties going against the visitors saw the Lions gain on them to clinch the victory.
Mitchell said he thought the team might have been short of a real contest in their pre-season preparations and described the match as almost being their second main pre-season game.
He said the team could not build any pressure and believed they had learnt an important lesson at the breakdown where he would like to see the ball get out quicker.
Lions skipper Josh Strauss said they made too many mistakes in the match but would work on it in the coming week.
"I am happy with the win but there are a lot of things in our performance that we can improve on in the week.
"The coach already mentioned the lineouts which is a very big area of worry for us, so we will just get that sorted and then just the breakdown," said Strauss.
"We were always going to be scrappy in the first week with all the new laws but it was a good learning curve for us in that area."
Next up for the Lions are the Hurricanes on Friday, who were beaten 39-26 by the Stormers on Saturday.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said their lack of discipline cost them.
"If you concede two yellow cards and 16 penalties in this leg then you can't win games, the guys actually didn’t play badly but bad discipline cost us the game," said Drotské.
While Jantjies shone for his team, Johan Goosen impressed in his maiden Super Rugby match, contributing 20 points, including a massive drop goal from the halfway line.
"I thought he (Johan Goosen) kicked well at the poles, he kicked everything over, but tactically I thought he and Sias (Ebersohn) especially in the second half should have controlled the game a little bit better, kicked behind them a little bit better," Drotské said.
Drotské said his side needed to change their tactics as they were severely penalised in that area of the game.
"I thought we played too much rugby in the second half in our own half, we decided at half-time that Mark (Lawrence) was very technical at the breakdown and it’s not worth it trying to play there and rather kick it behind them and we gave away nine points by not doing that," he said.
"We will address that, it is something we can rectify that in the next week.
The Cheetahs next play the Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday and will tour to Australasia the following week where they will play against Jake White’s Brumbies.