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Van Rooyen knows Lions must improve in semifinal rematch against the Bulls

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
The Emirates Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen.
The Emirates Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen was left to rue his team’s missed chances from their 22-15 Currie Cup loss to the Bulls at Loftus on Wednesday.

The result meant that the Lions finished the group phase in fourth place and they will return to Pretoria next weekend for their semifinal‚ while Western Province will host the Sharks in the other battle for a place in the final.

“Definitely‚ I think we created a lot of opportunities and part of the frustration is that we didn’t capitalise on them‚” Van Rooyen said‚ admitting that the Lions will have to improve significantly next weekend.

“Obviously at some stage in the game momentum went for us and against us and for them and against them. I think set-piece-wise there are enough positives to build on‚ our defence was good but the attack was not that good. There is a lot of stuff to work on and a lot of stuff to improve on.”

Though they left Loftus with their fourth loss of the regular season‚ Van Rooyen said there were a few positives from the narrow defeat.

“Part of the teachings and the learnings we have to do every week is to sit with the decision-makers and reassess how they handled pressure and why did they took certain decisions. We will look in-depth into the second half and take the learnings from that.

“We took long to get momentum back on our side and to be honest we have to go back and look at the set-piece and see where we can paint the right pictures and improve in terms of consistency from our side.”

For the entire 80 minutes‚ the Lions failed to score even a single try with the 15 points coming from the boot of Tiaan Swanepoel‚ where he put away five penalties‚ and Van Rooyen admitted it was their downfall.

“It has been a while since we haven’t scored a try but we created enough opportunities to score. If you want to be different or go far in this competition‚ you must be willing to take a chance and we will challenge that mindset in the next 10 days.

“We were a little bit indecisive not knowing when to run or kick and stuff like that.”