Johannesburg - Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg praised the courage and character
of his team as they registered a crucial away win in the first leg of
their Super Rugby promotion-relegation series against the Kings
in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The visiting side, who lost their
Super Rugby status this year to the Kings, beat them 26-19 to take a
massive advantage into the second leg in Johannesburg next Saturday.
The Kings, though, picked up one bonus point for ending within seven points of the Lions' score.
Rensburg, whose team have not had many tough matches recently, said it
was the most physical game they had played this season.
was definitely a tough, physical game and we made a lot of mistakes in
the first half, but hats off to our team for the guts they showed
tonight (Friday)," Janse van Rensburg said.
The Lions tested the Kings' defence, one of the Eastern Cape franchise's outstanding assets this season, he said.
"We worked hard to attack their defence because we knew it was very good and in the second half it went well.
"We showed a lot of character and we fought for each other.
"Now we are looking forward to Ellis Park, which suits our game, and we will have 40 000 fans behind us this time."
Kings skipper Darron Nell, it was a tough pill to swallow, but he took
some solace from the fact they had earned a bonus point.
bonus point was the at least something," Nell said, "and now we know
what we have to do - win by more than seven points - and we must plan
He paid tribute to the Lions for their efforts,
while adding that the Kings' attacking moves were not as clinical as
they should have been.
"The Lions did very well, they kept the
ball better than we did and we didn't get our set phases right to get
into the game. So that is something we need to get work on and get right
for next week," Nell said.
"I think we can just look at where we
went wrong and work on those things, and that should help our game
massively. I thought the guys played well at stages but there were
times, on attack, when we weren't great."