Lions stalwart Cobus Grobelaar believes that continuity in selection and the ability to learn from past mistakes have been crucial to his team's success in the Currie Cup so far this season.
The Lions lost just one game in the opening half of the season and have shown an impressive ability to win tight games in stark contrast to their fortunes in Super Rugby this year, where they seemed to lose all of the close ones.
Grobelaar has been with the Lions through their darkest days in recent years, and the hard-working loose forward is especially satisfied with the rewards the team's efforts are finally starting to bring.
A big advantage for the Lions this season has been the fact that they lost very few players to the Springbok set-up, with veteran flyhalf Butch James the only Lions player that will be travelling to New Zealand to play in the World Cup.
Grobelaar admitted that the continuity they have had from their Super Rugby campaign has made life much easier for the team from Johannesburg in the Currie Cup this year.
He said: "I think the continuity in selection has been key, this group has been playing together and doing the right things for a while now and some of the guys are starting to take responsibility and stick their hands up.
"We have also made a point of learning from some of our negative experiences. It is important not to dwell in those dumps or valleys and to focus on how we can improve as a result," he added.
However, this does not mean that coach John Mitchell's team will be taking anything for granted in the second half of the season and that starts this weekend with their clash against the winless Pumas who ran them extremely close in the first round.
"We still need to take it game for game and not get ahead of ourselves or anything. The Pumas are a quality side, they might not have won yet but they are hungry and have won about five or six losing bonus points so we will have to be on our game this weekend," explained Grobelaar.
Grobelaar is adamant that the Lions are by no means the finished article, despite occupying some relatively unfamiliar territory at the top of the table, and he was very clear on what needs to improve in the next few games.
"We would like to strike a better balance between our attacking game, our defensive game and territory, and we can always improve our decision making so there are always things to work on," he said.
By Michael de Vries
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