Lions coach Van Rooyen rues errors in Waratahs defeat

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen watches on during the warm-up before the round five Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Lions at Bankwest Stadium on February 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen watches on during the warm-up before the round five Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Lions at Bankwest Stadium on February 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
Image: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen blamed his team’s decision-making under pressure after they crashed to a 29-17 Super Rugby defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.

The Lions’ third defeat in four matches at the start of the season and will heap more pressure on them on the remainder of their travels in Australasia.

Although they often played with attacking intent‚ the Lions were error ridden and their discipline let them down. Add to that‚ the lapses in concentration and the impact of the team’s coaching staff will also be placed under the spotlight.

“Both teams were desperate. The Waratahs played well. It was our decision making under pressure.

“One or two guys if you make an error at this level‚ and give the way [with] the Waratahs played‚ then you are going to concede points‚” said Van Rooyen almost mirroring the incoherence with which his team played.

He lauded the Waratahs’ decision-making in attack. “Their precision was impressive‚” said Van Rooyen.

Despite the defeat‚ the poor discipline and the high error rate‚ captain Elton Jantjies appeared even further detached from reality.

“We are on the up as a group. We are getting to know each other. Off the field and on the field. We can’t use it as an excuse‚ boys playing their first or second season.

“We just need to keep doing what we are doing. We are doing the right things. We apply good pressure with ball in hand and our kicking game as well‚” said Jantjies.

On top of the defeat the Lions will also sweat on the availability of flank Vincent Tshituka ahead of next week’s match against the Rebels in Melbourne. Tshituka sustained an ankle injury and he will undergo a scan to determine the extent of the damage.

Apart from their performance and the impact of the defeat they suffered the taciturn Van Rooyen was asked about refereeing statistics that emanated out of Australia this week that suggests South African referees favour their compatriots when they play at home against foreign opposition.

“I don’t see any problem with a ref from the same country taking the field‚” said Van Rooyen. “They get judged just like us. It also saves a little bit of money instead of flying everybody around. That’s what it is.”


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