Lions see red on their home patch
NEW WEEK: JAGUARES MAULING ON THE BACK BURNER
The ball is now in their court to pick themselves up this afternoon at home to the Reds after a disappointing start to their Super Rugby campaign last weekend, says Lions captain Elton Jantjies.
The Lions were especially disappointing in the second half last weekend when going down 38-8 to the Jaguares, but Jantjies believes they can get their season back on track.
“We took a lot of lessons out of last week, but have put that behind us in the build-up towards this weekend’s game, “said Jantjies.
“There’s a lot of energy and positivity and we have to make sure we channel that energy and focus on it,” said the Lions’ most experienced Super Rugby player and Springbok flyhalf.
The Lions can draw confidence from the fact that they have won 10 of their last 11 home games against Australian opposition, including seven on the bounce.
Jantjies however doesn’t believe they should hold too much store in the altitude advantage, having arrived back in Johannesburg later than the Reds.
“We arrived back on Monday and I think the Reds arrived a day or two earlier, but we are not focusing on travel issues, we are just excited to be back at home and getting back on track,’ he said.
The Reds started their campaign with a 27-24 loss to the Brumbies last week but made four changes including influential James ‘O Connor’s move to flyhalf.
The Lions in turn have welcomed back the experienced flyhalf Andries Coetzee, while the exciting young scrumhalf Morne van den Berg gets a start after injuries to Andre Warner and Ross Cronje.
Jantjies himself as captain however will need to take control of the game after not enjoying the best of games last weekend against the Jaguares.
“Captaincy doesn’t change my game and I just look at ticking boxes. Obviously there’s some other duties to concentrate on but it’s about building a relationship with the coaches and players.
“We are definitely going to make mistakes, but it’s about fixing those mistakes,’ he added.
“I don’t focus on captaincy and being appointed weekly is no issue for me, I just get up and focus on training and try to do the best for the team.”
Although the Lions missed as many as 37 tackles last weekend and weren’t as accurate as they have been in the past in the set-pieces, Jantjies said the team have no mental scars from the Jaguares loss.
“As soon as I arrived back I had a smile and couldn’t wait to get back to Joburg Stadium to prepare for the first home game.”