KSA Shark ©

View from the frontlines

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :2009 Lions Tour, In the news on 31 May 2009 at 13:00
Tagged with : ,

Following the Lions’ 37-25 win over the Royal XV in the opening fixture of their 10-match tour, we round up the thoughts of those closest to the action…

By Westgate, Rob ColeLions head coach Ian McGeechan“You have to give the players time and you have to realise how big an occasion it is when you pull on the Lions jersey for the first time. It is a matter of being patient.

“There is no doubt that 14 turnovers in the first half was something that upset us, but we controlled the ball much better in the second half.

“I thought our back three collected the high balls well and we used that possession quite positively. Lee Byrne was very good at the back and coped with the extra distance you get on the ball at altitude.”

Lions captain Paul O’Connell

“It was very scrappy and I don’t think we will make the same mistakes again. But it was our first game after only being here for six days, so we are delighted to get the win.

“There are no easy games on a tour like this and it was a once in 12-year opportunity for the Royal XV players to play against the Lions. They certainly made the most of it and gave it their all.

“The errors took away our momentum and any chance we had of developing our game in the first half. Every time we turned over the ball they sent us back down the pitch.

“The problem is that every turn over a team gains helps them to grow bigger and stronger – that’s what happened to the Royal XV.

“The enthusiasm for this game from the players shocked me during the week and I think, in the end, that enthusiasm got the better of us.

“The first-half was harder than the second. Once we got used to the conditions we were more comfortable and competitive.

“We felt more powerful in the second half. It is a big step for us to get used to conditions like these after only six days in the country.”

Lions try scorer Alun-Wyn Jones

“It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. The try came from a great lineout drill between Lee Mears and Paul O’Connell and then a solid forward effort to get that close to the line.

“The try sealed it off for us and it was a result of good patience by the pack as a whole. We had to trust each other and trust the patterns. You could see they were about to break.

“The boys said it was a hard first 20 minutes in the conditions, but then they got their second wind. I didn’t get the chance to get my second wind because I wasn’t on that long.

“It is difficult gelling with players you haven’t played with before, but it is also exciting and thoroughly enjoyable.

“Full credit to them for the effort they put in. But there is no point in winning if it is easy.

“This is the start of the tour and I guess today was the end of the beginning and the start of the end. The momentum has been created and now we have to keep pushing forward.”

Royal XV coach Chaka Willemse

“There is a lot of Super 14 talent in those two teams the Lions will meet next week and they will have to pick it up after this or face a very difficult few matches.

“We said we mustn’t make mistakes in the first 30 minutes and that we needed to concentrate on the basics. We could have scored another two tries in the first half if we’d been more accurate.

“But then we made two mistakes in the second half and they really punished us for them.

“It was easy to see why Paul O’Connell was made captain. He wants to lead by example all the time and he was the man who gave the Lions some go forward – he really was a man on a mission.

“I think that once the Lions have played four or five times together they will be a superb unit. It is far too early to say what sort of threat they will pose to the Springboks, but I think they will be a quality side by the time of the Test series.”

Royal XV captain, Wilhelm Koch

“We gave it our all in the first half and we went out to hit the rucks hard. But they were very physical and it was a big step up for us from the Vodacom Cup.

“There was no time to think and no space to exploit. But it was a huge honour to run onto the field to play against the Lions – a once in a lifetime experience.”


  • More comments by O’Connell on Sky Sports

    I think it’s a big wake-up call for us” O’Connell told Sky Sports immediately after the final whistle of his first game as Lions skipper.

    “We’ve been working hard on getting used to playing with each other but you have to remember what you need to bring to a rugby match as well — the physicality and the attention to detail.”

    “We just couldn’t get any phases together because we kept making mistakes. It was a struggle but we dug deep and got the win,” added O’Connell.

    “It’s hard when you’re just coming together as a team but we’re trying to get beyond that now and focus and improve on Wednesday.

    “Cutting down the mistakes is going to be a big thing. I’m not sure whether that’s concentration or apprehension but you can’t make that many mistakes no matter who you’re playing.

    “We’ve all had bad games, we’ve all gone out there and had nightmares, but we’ve just got to put it behind us. We’ve got a good squad, a good bunch of friends here and I think the boys will be fine.”

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.05.09 07:46:03 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • 😀

    thanks rob for sorting out my registration

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.05.09 19:58:52 by war1 Reply
  • BTW i think lesser sides would have lost to the royal xv, i think these lions have BMT

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.05.09 20:00:47 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 2) : no stress boss. Hope you enjoy it here

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.05.09 20:01:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • but at the same time if the bulls performance is any indication of the boks one, they should do very nicely

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.05.09 20:02:02 by war1 Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Could help me with uploading a profile pic please?

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.05.09 20:04:49 by war1 Reply
  • These guys must still be hiding in their cupboards after saeeing the bulls playing yesterday.

    Anyway I am gonna make like a redneck and watch some NASCAR on ESPN LIVE

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.05.09 20:06:56 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • 😆 its times like this that make me glad i chose UJ over tuks, would have been having to listen to very many “humble” bulls fans

  • Comment 8, posted at 31.05.09 20:10:03 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 6) : Never mind, just figured it out thanks again, will see you guys tomorrow, going to try and get an early night gotta hopefully be productive tomorrow

  • Comment 9, posted at 31.05.09 20:23:08 by war1 Reply

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