Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes his players are not learning and will continue to be on the receiving end.
Lwazi Mvovo scored a superb chip-and-chase try to secure a 25-12 victory for Sharks over Lions in Johannesburg at the weekend. The Durban franchise were just three points ahead in a fiercely contested South African showdown at Ellis Park when fullback Mvovo struck 13 minutes from time.
Centre Sibusiso Sithole forced a turnover near the touchline and Mvovo darted down the flank, caught his chip and darted over to land a decisive blow against the Lions. Francois Steyn, who started at inside centre and moved to flyhalf midway through the opening half when Fred Zeilinga pulled a hamstring, converted. The 2007 World Cup winner added a penalty to complete the scoring and give the Sharks a two-point lead at the top of the Super Rugby table.
Ackermann was again left frustrated, as he believed the players’ decision making let them down. “My message to the players is simple, we will continue to be in this situation if we are don’t learn quickly and make the right decisions on the field,” Ackermann said in his post-match briefing. “They were good in the rucks, we were better than last week but that is still a big area for us to work on.”
Ackermann believed his side were better than the 13-point beating they received at the hands of the visitors. “It was disappointing because I don’t think the score is a true reflection of the game,” he said. “They didn’t dominate the game in the sense that we were 13 points behind them, 13-12 would probably have been better, not satisfactory but better. “Credit to them they played the full 80 minutes and took their opportunities.”
Lions No.8 and skipper Warren Whiteley praised his teammates for battling bravely to try and avenge the 23-37 loss earlier in the season. “We matched the Sharks for 60 minutes, but were not clinical enough when the team got close to the try-line,” he admitted. “Let me give credit to the Sharks for capitalising on our mistakes – some of those penalties from Francois Steyn were magnificent.”