Vodacom Super 14

Lions face uphill battle

2010-02-23 13:07
Dick Muir (File)
Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – The Lions’ coaching team will have to re-think their approach to the Super 14 this week.

On Friday night the team’s defensive pattern was non-existent as they lost 65-72 to the Chiefs at Coca-cola Park.

Dick Muir’s team were exposed to a bombardment by the Chiefs due to their determination to play running rugby. Like most New Zealand teams, the Chiefs are deadly from unstructured play.

This proved costly to the Lions, particularly in the first part of the second half.

The Lions also created some excitement with their attacking play, but the Chiefs punished them mercilessly off turnover possession.

On Saturday, the Hurricanes await the Lions in Wellington. The New Zealanders have carried the tag as the “most exciting” team in the competition for a number of years.

Muir said after Friday’s game that the Chiefs are the best attacking team in the series.

“I don’t think the Hurricanes are as effective as the Chiefs,” said Muir, adding that he expected another tough game.

The Hurricanes scored seven tries against the Western Force on Saturday and the Lions will be standing behind their posts regularly again if they are not careful.

However, the Lions did score nine tries and 65 points at the weekend.

They are thus wearing the mantle of the side to have conceded the most points as a losing team. Therefore, Cobus Grobbelaar and his team-mates will have to adapt their approach immediately.

The Lions’ centre pairing of Doppies la Grange and Deon van Rensburg will face some of the toughest opponents in world rugby.

All Black centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith started the season on a high for the Hurricanes.

Jacques Lombard is set to start at lock for the Lions in place of the suspended Willem Stoltz. The latter was banned for a week after elbowing an opponent.

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