No pres­sure, De Bruin’s Lions fo­cus on next game

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

31-5 up soon af­ter the in­ter­val to be in a com­mand­ing po­si­tion. But the dis­missal of hooker Rob­bie Coet­zee – for ac­ci­den­tally kick­ing a Sharks player on the head – in the 51st minute swung mo­men­tum in the Sharks’ di­rec­tion. The vis­i­tors would go on to score a fur­ther five tries to go with the two they al­ready had, to ease past their hosts. It was the fourth meet­ing be­tween the teams this sea­son af­ter the Su­per Rugby sides met on three oc­ca­sions, with the Lions win­ning all three of those en­coun­ters.

But while new coach De Bruin – who took over from the now de­parted Jo­han Ack­er­mann this week – said af­ter­wards that the Lions were in some spot of bother now, he added there was no rea­son to panic.

“This is go­ing to be a big test of our char­ac­ter, but we’re not go­ing to panic,” said De Bruin.

“We’re just go­ing to fo­cus on the next game and not add any more pres­sure on the play­ers than there al­ready is. The re­al­ity is we played in a Su­per Rugby fi­nal last week and that’s prob­a­bly count­ing against us now ... we had to rest cer­tain play­ers.

“But all we can do is take it one day at a time, go back to our pro­cesses and keep do­ing what we did on Sat­ur­day un­til the red card came.”

Coet­zee’s send­ing off was mas­sive, and changed the whole flow of the game, but De Bruin didn’t want to say too much about the in­ci­dent and the way it was han­dled by the of­fi­cials.

“We re­ally played phe­nom­e­nal rugby to get to 24-5 and 31-12 ... it was some of the best rugby I’ve seen this team play in a long time. What I saw from a bunch of young­sters, many of whom were fill­ing in, (it) makes me ex­cited about the fu­ture. Be­fore the card came we stole a few li­ne­outs, I was happy with what I saw on at­tack, the de­fence was bril­liant ... and that’s what we must fo­cus on,” De Bruin said.

“I’ve watched the red card in­ci­dent in real time and in slow mo­tion ... but I can’t say any­thing, not a sin­gle word, those are the reg­u­la­tions.”

What De Bruin did say, how­ever, was that dis­ci­pline wasn’t an is­sue in the Lions team. Hooker Coet­zee,

was also given his march­ing or­ders in the early rounds of Su­per Rugby and spent some time sit­ting out with a ban, while Kwagga Smith was red-carded for ba­si­cally tak­ing a player out in the air in the Su­per Rugby fi­nal nine days ago.

“There is no way (the in­ci­dents in­volv­ing) Kwagga and Rob­bie are linked to dis­ci­pline ... I will pro­tect both of them, stand and fall with them. There are no dis­ci­pline prob­lems,” said De Bruin.

The Lions are next up against Western Prov­ince in Cape Town on Fri­day evening and will be des­per­ate to pick up some points.

“We’ll take stock of our in­juries and then de­cide who’ll be con­sid­ered for the match. Some of the guys who sat out this match may come in or they’ll have an­other week off.”

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