Lions see red on their home patch


The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Ru­dolph Ja­cobs

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.”

Pic­ture: Gallo Im­ages


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