Never one to shy away from a spot of hyperbolic gushing, one gets the impression Lions Coach Loffie Eloff is pretty elated with his side’s upset win over the Cheetahs. Here’s what he had to say on the Lions official website, www.lionsrugby.co.za.
The ideal kick off to a Super 14 – beating the Cheetahs away. It could not have been better. With odds against us of about 100 – 1, and with television commentators saying there was no ways we could beat the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, it sure proves that rugby is a funny game, and on any given day any team can win a match.
Fortunately, on Saturday, it was ours for the taking.
Arriving at the field, it felt as if we were at a building site with all the construction on the go, and I can see Australian and New Zealand teams complaining about the circumstances around the stadiums which are being upgraded.
But let’s focus on the game. The first half seemed as if we were just going through the motions and the players were very quiet on the field. But what I picked up was that they did not lose focus, and they didn’t panic when we were behind on that quick try.
We had a few scoring opportunities that we missed, but going into half time, I knew that the second half was going to be a new game.
During my half time team talk, I told the players that I believe in them, and that they need to believe in themselves as well, and just stick to the plans. And the second half spoke for itself.
The boys came out firing and I thought we had the better of the Cheetahs in all facets. We need to brush up on our lineouts that we lost, and our option taking. Here and there we had some mistackles, but I’m very proud of what the boys achieved against all odds.
It was quite ironic that during half time the commentators did interviews on the first half, and said that the players looked out on their feet, and that they would battle to finish the game at pace. I thought we were the team that looked fitter in the latter stages of the second half, and after the match, the guys had so much energy they could have played another half.
The new laws have definitely sped up the game. But that suits us well.
This Saturday is the big game. The blues are tipped to win the Super 14 this year. We are not giving anything away at our home field, and they are going to be up for a fight until the last second of the match. We’ll play to win it.
Thank you for the emails, sms’s and support. It means so much and I hope to see a lot of red at Ellis Park this Saturday.
Eugene “Loffie” EloffTweet