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Plenty of work ahead for Mitchell's Lions

Article Published: Sunday 26 February 2012

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Coach John Mitchell admitted after the match that his Lions team got out of jail in their 27-25 victory over the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby match on Saturday.

"But in saying that, in the contest Elton (Jantjies) missed a couple of kicks," said Mitchell.

"We never really got going but we never stopped working for each other, they are clearly a little bit still individual and the team work is not totally there yet."

Jantjies set a new Super Rugby record, succeeding with nine penalty goals out of his 11 attempts at the posts, wiping out of the record books four players who have slotted eight three-points in one match in the past.

The previous record was jointly held by Jannie Kruger (Northern Transvaal v Highlanders in Pretoria, 1996), Willie Walker (Highlanders v Chiefs in Hamilton, 2003), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs v Stormers in Cape Town, 2006) and Derick Hougaard (Bulls v Crusaders in Pretoria, 2007).

The Cheetahs were in the lead for most of the encounter and at one stage led charge by 10 points.

Two yellow cards and a number of penalties going against the visitors saw the Lions gain on them to clinch the victory.

Mitchell said he thought the team might have been short of a real contest in their preseason preparations and viewed the match as their second main preseason game.

He said the team could not build any pressure and he believed they had learnt an important lesson at the breakdown where he would like to see the ball get out quicker.

Lions skipper Joshua Strauss said the team made too many mistakes in the match but would work on it in the coming week.

"I am happy with the win but there are a lot of things in our performance that we can improve on in the week.

"The coach already mentioned the lineouts which is a very big area of worry for us, so we will just get that sorted and then just the breakdown," said Strauss.

"We were always going to be scrappy in the first week with all the new laws but it was a good learning curve for us in that area."

The Lions will next Friday take on the Hurricanes, who were beaten 39-26 by the Stormers on Saturday.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske said his team's lack of discipline cost them the game.

"If you concede two yellow cards and 16 penalties in this leg then you can't win games, the guys actually didn't play badly but bad discipline cost us the game," said Drotske.

While Jantjies shone for his team, Johan Goosen impressed in his maiden Super Rugby match, contributing 20 points, including a massive drop goal from his halfway line.

"I thought he (Johan Goosen) kicked well at the poles, he kicked everything over, but tactically I thought he and Sias (Ebersohn) especially in the second half should have controlled the game a little bit better, kicked behind them a little bit better," Drotske said.

Drotske said his side needed to change their tactics as they were severely penalised in that area of the game.

"I thought we played too much rugby in the second half in our own half, we decided at half time that Mark (Lawrence) was s very technical at the breakdown and it's not worth it trying to play there and rather kick it behind them and we gave away nine points by not doing that," he said.

"We will address that, it is something we can rectify that in the next week.

The Cheetahs, who could not have asked for a worse start to their campaign, next play the Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday and will tour to Australasia the following week where they will play aginst Jake White's Brumbies.

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