Lions leave Newlands with pride

    2015-06-07 12:02

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - The Lions can leave Super Rugby 2015 with their heads held high.

    The playoffs may have been a push too far, but the improvement has been there for all to see.

    "The margins are so small," captain Warren Whiteley mused after the match.

    The Lions were in it right up until the final whistle. Momentum was on their side and it looked like they were going to barge over for their match-winning and potentially season saving bonus point try. But it was not to be. A knock-on brought an end to the match and the curtain down on a season to remember.

    After the match there was no shame or regret … just pride.

    "Words can’t explain how proud I am of the guys," coach Johan Ackermann said.

    "The effort that went out there … during this whole season every team talk you knew that when you ask for something they most of the time deliver it."

    Ackermann did ponder over losses to the Crusaders and Brumbies as rare instances where he expected more, but would not detract from the strides his side had made in 2015.

    "In general I think the graphic is on the up. I’m very proud, especially tonight (Saturday)," said Ackermann.

    "It (Newlands) is a tough place to come to and we came close to getting over the line."

    Whiteley, who has won praise from all corners this season, was also very pleased with his side’s performance against the Stormers.

    "We wanted to play tonight. I’m just really proud of the guys; it was tough out there," he said.

    "It was a nice physical game and just a great spectacle. Both teams really did well and it was just a nice game to be a part of.

    "We really feel that we are improving as a squad and we’ve shown great maturity throughout the year and it’s on the up."

    The Lions will now take a three week break before regrouping for the Currie Cup. 

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