Lions have a few things to fix before they meet the Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Saturday
Despite clear improvements in the domestic Super Rugby Unlocked compared to what they served up in the abandoned Super Rugby competition‚ the Lions are still struggling to populate the wins column.
The team that lost five of their six matches before Super Rugby came to an abrupt and permanent halt in March have played with more pluck and purpose upon the resumption of the domestic season.
Away defeats to the Sharks and the Stormers at the start of Super Rugby Unlocked‚ however‚ would have served as a timely reminder that much work still needs to be done.
Against the Sharks they were slow out of the blocks before staging a spirited fightback‚ while against the Stormers their first half effort was undone by questionable tactics and imprecise execution in the second half.
It goes without saying that when they meet the Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Saturday they will need a solid 80-minute performance.
They have a few things to fix after their first two Super Rugby Unlocked matches. Captain Elton Jantjies pointed to the Lions' attacking breakdowns as an area that has invited closer scrutiny.
All too often they play themselves into positions of promise only for possession to be turned over either by an opponent or the shrill of the referee's whistle.
Jantjies was loath to go into the detail but the Lions had a chance to potentially win the game at the end had referee Rasta Rashivhenge applied the ruck laws as strictly as he did earlier in the game.
“We will look at our attacking breakdown‚” said Jantjies. That's where you get your momentum from. Rasta was good at that. He communicated well.
“When the game is over you can't look at what the refs are doing. We must control what we can control and not put the ref in a situation to make a call.
“There were lots of good things‚” Jantjies continued.
“I can't start blaming the guys. It was a collective effort and there was good energy. The guys pitched but we'll have to see where we can make improvements.”
Coach Ivan van Rooyen wasn't entirely unhappy with what he witnessed at Newlands.
He even noted that there were some exceptional performances‚ singling out Burger Odendaal who scooped the man of the match award.
Still‚ they have two defeats from two matches and now the pressure is on to win every home match. There is no sneaking and then hoping for the best in this competition.
They could not have asked for a tougher task on their home run of matches as the competition pace setters the Cheetahs come knocking on Saturday.
It will be the first of four consecutive home matches for the Lions but any slip-up could rule them out of contention.