Loftus demolition job was 'special'

    2016-05-30 14:25

    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - Emirates Lions captain Warren Whiteley described his team’s 56-20 demolition job of the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld as one of the most “special” performances his side has put up under the current management.

    According to SuperSport, Whiteley and several of his team-mates were rewarded for an excellent season with places either in the Springbok or SA A group, and on the evidence of Saturday night it is no wonder as they simply played the home team off the park.

    “It was a very good performance. The coach mentioned our other performances through the year but this one is special. It is always tricky going into a game away from home against a side that is full of confidence and before a break,” Whiteley said.

    The Lions captain said while the next month would be all about international rugby, the Lions would now shift their focus to consistency as they enter the final stage of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

    “There were things we had to overcome – psychological factors and we put a lot of emphasis on that since Monday. We kept our feet on the ground and stay consistent. Consistency is something we emphasised over the last couple of weeks and now again. After the break we need to keep that fire burning and it is going to be key for us. That first week is going to be a massive challenge,” Whiteley said.

    “It also gives guys time to rest, guys like Elton who need to return. It has always been a squad effort. It is always nice having that momentum and we always would like to carry on but it is what it is. Every single team has to deal with this month’s break and when we play the Sharks there will be no excuses, we will need to play well. The key will be for us to do well, every single player will have an individual plan but when we come together we have a common goal regardless of where we have been, our common goal will remain the same.”

    The changeroom was a popular place on Saturday night, and the Lions were enjoying the fruits of their labour over the past few years. And Whiteley had a strong message that won’t be received well by the other franchises in South Africa – the Lions believe they can get better.

    “There is a lot of excitement among the group, and we emphasised it before that it is a collective effort over the past three or four years, a culture that we want to be part of, that we want to thrive in and one where we as players, as individuals, can be unique in how we are.

    “We are really blessed at the moment and very fortunate to have the type of players we do that are making us proud. There has been a lot of hard work and we really feel there is more to come in the future,” he added.

    And on the evidence of Saturday night that is a very scary thought for other teams indeed.

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15


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