Mitchell: We got out of jail

2012-02-26 22:32

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.


  • Jaco - 2012-02-26 22:44

    The fact that Johan Goosen had to leave the field with an injury helped. Tewis de Bruyn and Sias Eberson both missed relatively easy kicks as well.

      Shane - 2012-02-27 00:51

      It's a fact, Jaco. I don't know why you are getting the 'thumbs down'. Must be Lions supporters.

      Selma - 2012-02-27 08:44

      Jaco, In the 'old days' the flyhalf and fullback and even scrumhalfs were excellent goal kickers. Naas Botha, Gerbrand Grobler, Johan Heunis; De Wet Ras, Gysie Pienaar; Calla Scholtz; John Robbie. Even Ollie le Roux :)

      Jaco - 2012-02-27 10:37

      Even the locks (Hennie Bekker in NZ in 1981) and wings (Cliffie Brown). What's your point, Selma?

      Heini - 2012-02-27 14:47

      The game i watched Lions missed 2 penalties and a drop goal and the Cheetahs missed 2 penalties.....So all kicked over 36-31 to the Lions. I'm sorry, but what's your point Jaco, I'm confused?

  • Paul - 2012-02-27 00:10

    Yep. Mark Lawrence was "too technical". At one stage I thought he was trying to earn Man of the Match. The entire rugby public of the Southern Hemisphere was hoping for a free-flowing game between two teams who like to give it a go, but that whistle never stopped blowing. Of all the refs on show this weekend, only Kaplan allowed rugby to be played.

      PatPion - 2012-02-27 10:12

      At least he was consistent.

      Jimmy - 2012-02-27 10:41

      I feel they have messed up rugby yet again with the new rules and interpretations. Why cant they leave well alone.. It is complicated enough already. Most of the games were a night mare.

  • Gerhard - 2012-02-27 05:55

    Ja Mark Lawrence het beslis meegehelp dat die Leeuws kon wegkom met 'n wen. Oor die algemeen het skeidregter deesdae te veel invloed op die uitslag van 'n wedstryd. Kyk hoe ongelukkig was die Hurricans met die telvisie skeidsregster se swak beslissing op 'n baie belangrike tydstip van dfe wedstryd. Die skeidsregter het in daardie wedstryd opgetree of hy dink hy is die hoof onderwyser. Arme vent.

  • Craig - 2012-02-27 06:26

    Sorry to you Cheetahs fans. The Lions will once again be triumfant !!! 1st game of the season is never always perfect, even look at the Sharks and Stormers. Don't be sorry losers...

  • Raeez - 2012-02-27 07:54

    Winning these tight games builds BMT. This is a good learning curve for the guys. Hopefully when they get back to the form they displayed in the Currie Cup they would have a few wins under the belt already,,, As for Johan Goosen...Maak daai man n Bok!!! lol QUALITY!!!

      Sean - 2012-02-27 11:31

      In SA rugby there is always a position that is full of players with potential. For the past five years we had too many flanks. Now we have four fly halves who are vying for one position. Elton Jantjies, Morne Steyn (the non-Bull supporters will give me flack), Johan Goosen and Pat Lambie. Lambie has the added advantage of being able to slot in at fullback. Of the others two of them are going to be bench-warmers for a while!

      Raeez - 2012-02-27 15:33

      The guy who picks up the least injuries will be the one who secures the Bok no10 jersey. Johan Goosen looks like the real deal but already had 1 or 2 niggles, Steyn is the best "kicker" but thats about it, he lacks pace and vision... It might come down to Pat Lambie and Elton.

  • Merle - 2012-02-27 09:51

    I had something to say about Johnathan's handling of the Sharks Bulls game. The same applies to Mark Lawrance. Derek Minnie got away with murder, and this is something SANZAR has told the REFs to ref more strictly than last year. The loose scrum, with the Cheetahs on attack, which led to the Lions scoring thier late try - have a close look - Derek Minnie was clearly not supporting his own weight. He went over on his elbows, and you can clearly hear Lawrance shouting "that's ok", and that was that. The Cheetahs should have tackled though?

      Ridwaan - 2012-02-27 09:55

      the lions did NOT score a try ...

      Sean - 2012-02-27 11:32

      I was at the game. What try?

  • Nico - 2012-02-27 10:00

    Well done LIONS! We are growing as a team, now we win when we play bad, last year we lost when we played well. Winning the CC gave these guys the self confidence to win games they shouldn't, which shows the signs of a good team :) As for complains about the ref ... whatever. No one these days want to admit their team were outplayed and the ref is the easy target. GO LIONS!!! Now to beat the hurricanes friday night :)

  • Robert - 2012-02-27 10:50

    I cannot believe that Sias Ebersohn is the best number 2 flyhalf in the Cheetahs camp. He came onto the field fresh and kicked like a tool. Cheetahs can only blame themselves for this loss, you cannot give away 11 kickable penalties and wonder why you lost the game. The coach should also take some blame as the Cheetahs played a totally different game plan in the second half and kicked away a lot of possession. Did Naka not watch the Reds steal a victory in the dying seconds because of an aimless kick.

      Sean - 2012-02-27 11:35

      Being at the game I did not have the benefits of tv replays. Sias aimed as if to drop-kick in the last minutes, then side stepped and passed the ball down the line. In a few phases the ball was knocked on and the game was over. Maybe the wrong option was taken. Was the drop-kick on?

  • Jody - 2012-02-27 11:35

    I am a Lions s upporter, however i see tough times ahead. OFS lost the game rather that the Lions won it. Agree with Mitchell. Goosen is unbelievable talent. Great for SA.

  • Alan - 2012-02-27 17:51

    May not be pretty, but it's a win. Take it.

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