Vodacom Super Rugby
Mitchell hits out at officials
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
Durban - Lions coach John Mitchell has hit out at the officiating after his side lost their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Mitchell felt his side had made errors at key times during their 32-20 loss, which proved costly.
They were twice within seven points of the hosts in the final quarter, before eventually going down in their second loss of the season.
“We suffered because I think the Sharks dominated field position enough to force three or four errors in our own half,” said the Lions boss.
Mitchell hit out at the officiating from referee Mark Lawrence’s assistants.
“There were some dubious officials tonight, so we’re going to have to report the TMO on the evidence that we have,” he said.
“That’s something we’ll have to deal with upstairs.
"They won’t change the result, but clearly [the officials] need to be accountable at this level.”
Sharks coach John Plumtree was relieved after his side overcame a lack of confidence and a determined Lions outfit to claim their first victory of the Super Rugby season.
Riaan Viljoen, Lwazi Mvovo, Meyer Bosman and Jacques Botes all scored tries to help clinch a bonus-point win.
“I was pleased that we ground it out,” Plumtree said.
“We gave ourselves a few hairy moments by allowing them to score after we had.
“That clinical bit that we need from 25-30 metres out is still not there. We need to sort that out.”
The coastal side had lost their opening two matches of the campaign, going down to the Bulls and Stormers, both away from home.
“We need to get some confidence after a pretty tough couple of weeks," Plumtree said.
"I think at times it showed. We looked a little bit nervous.
“This will help us come to work on Monday with genuine smiles on our faces.”
Plumtree applauded the Lions for showing fighting spirit as the visitors saw a bonus point slip from their grasp.
“I have to give the Lions a lot of credit. I thought at times they tackled outstandingly," he said.
“Every time we ran the ball, there’d be two or three of them in front of us. They had good cover out wide.
“I was impressed with their tenacity, they just didn’t give up.”
The Sharks boss insisted there was little difference in the way they had played in week three compared to the previous two rounds.
“I don’t think we really played any better than we have done in the last couple of weeks, but the difference was that we got the win.
“I think it’s just a continuation of trying to improve on what we’re doing."