Lions suf­fer open­ing day jit­ters but no-one’s un­duly wor­ried

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Of Sport - By Bob French bob.french@jpress.co.uk

Peter­bor­ough Lions head coach Dar­ren Fox and his chair­man Andy Moore were singing from the same hymn sheet on Satur­day af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing start to the new Na­tional League sea­son.

The city side were pipped 2120 by Divi­sion Three new boys Derby at Bret­ton Park af­ter con­ced­ing a try two min­utes from time.

And that match-win­ning score came af­ter the Lions had done so well to turn a 16-5 half­time deficit into a 20-16 lead.

But while Moore and Fox were both dis­ap­pointed to lose the opener in such a way, they agreed bet­ter times lie ahead.

Moore said: “Take noth­ing away from Derby. They are new to this league hav­ing won pro­mo­tion last sea­son and they were cer­tainly up for it. They def­i­nitely played with a lot more fire in their bel­lies than we did in the first half.

“How­ever, although dis­ap­pointed, I’m cer­tainly not dis­traught be­cause I know we’ve got the qual­ity within our squad to do so much bet­ter.

“We just didn’t play well enough as a team on the day. We made a very slow start and that ul­ti­mately cost us.

“It’s been a wake-up call for us but the Lions will come roar­ing back and we’ ll be there or there­abouts at the end of the sea­son.” Fox was in agree­ment. “I know we will defin­tely play much bet­ter than that,” he said. “It wasn’t the best of starts but the im­por­tant thing is how you bounce back. We have to work out where we went wrong and put it right - we have to turn neg­a­tives into pos­i­tives.

“Out big­gest down­fall was giv­ing away too many penal­ties - 18 in all. You’re al­ways go­ing to strug­gle to win a game when you give that many penal­ties way.

“We did well to get into a win­ning po­si­tion but then poor dis­ci­pline and be­ing over-eager in our own 22 cost us. We were a lit­tle bit naive to­wards the end.

“They scored their win­ning try from a scrum close to our line and the only time they had us un­der pres­sure was from scrums close to our try-line. They never looked like break­ing our de­fen­sive lines.

“We are a good team and I’ve told the lads they have to knuckle down in train­ing and prove it.”

The Lionstry-scor­ers were new sign­ings Joe An­dresen and Tom Aviss and prop Ben How­erd while the play­ers sin­binned were Mar­ius An­dri- jauskas and Jack Lewis.

The Lions are at Lich­field on Satur­day and will be with­out ex-Cardiff Blues cen­tre Jonathan Hill. The new­comer was in­jured against Derby and will be side­lined for a month.

But Ver­non Horne and Will Car­ring­ton re­turn to the squad af­ter miss­ing the Derby game.

Last sea­son the Lions did the dou­ble over Lich­field - 430 at home and 50-35 away.

PIC­TURE: MICK SUTTERBY

Chris Humphrey drives for­ward for the Lions against Derby.

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