JOHANNESBURG – Kwagga Smith said his team had learned valuable lessons from last weekend’s narrow, last-gasp defeat by the Stormers at Newlands and would be better for the loss when they tackle the Bulls this weekend.
The Lions, who lead until the final passage of play in Cape Town last Saturday, allowed the Stormers’ replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies to score what turned out to be the match-winning try as the three-time Super Rugby runners-up lost 19-17.
The defeat doesn’t sit at all well with the Lions, and Smith in particular, who said that had the Lions players been better disciplined on the day they would have won the match.
“It’s disappointing for sure, that we weren’t able to close out the game,” said the flank who was named man of the match in the losing cause.
“We were simply slack in our discipline. We gave away too many penalties towards the end and in the second half alone we conceded 12 penalties, to the three we gave away in the first half. That was too much, and it cost us."
“We were in charge of that game and we gave the momentum to the Stormers because of our ill-discipline. We could have, and should have, kept the ball, but our decision-making was poor at times and we allowed the Stormers to come at us again, and again.”
Smith said the Lions would be better for the experience in future, starting with the Bulls’ visit on Saturday. “It’s something to learn from, and we’ll be better next time, we’ll know what to do, to close out the game.”
He added that the absence in the closing stages of regular captain Warren Whiteley, who left the field before halftime with an injury, didn’t play a role in the Lions losing their grip on a match they dominated.