The Lions' gameplan had been good but their execution not good enough and in the end Western Province had deserved to win the match.
This was the view of Lions' head coach John Mitchell after Western Province had edged a 28-26 win over his team in their Currie Cup match at Newlands on Friday.
"I hate losing," Mitchell said, while conceding that it had taken his players 18 minutes to get any semblance of field position and in the course of the game had given away too much possession and territory, especially from kick receipts in their own half, which he described as "very costly".
The Lions had wanted to be flexible and balanced in their approach because, as Mitchell put it: "Province love having a defensive line that eats up your attack so it's important to recognise when they have more numbers to obviously put the ball behind and keep your team going forward.
"We found space at times on attack but I think our kicking game let us down tonight [Friday].
"I think our plan was good but our execution of it was [not].
"The contestable kick...we gave it too early in our back 50, and the length of our kicking game didn't have a lot of grass."
The forward battle had been even, Mitchell believed, with both packs carrying the ball well, the Lions enjoying the better of the line-outs and Western Province scrumming well.
Mitchell said he did not agree with the decision to have Elton Jantjies take a shot at posts from inside his own half with the last kick of the game.
"I was probably disappointed with the fact that we were so conservative that we didn't take a quick tap and eat some more metres and get a penalty."
The coach felt that the Lions had not used the last penalty to better advantage.
"At the end of the day you've got to get a response out of the defence. You've got to try and take them on. It was certainly outside of Elton's range."
Lions' Currie Cup captain Doppies la Grange - not playing because of injury - was proud of the improvement in his team's defence.
"Our defence has picked up really well," he commented. "All the tries scored against us in the last three games have been on the sides; nobody has broken through in the middle."
Mitchell said the news on Lions captain Josh Strauss was not good.
"He's got broken ribs I think. There's certainly a crack there. He took a shot in that maul just before halftime."
By Len Kaplan at Newlands
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