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Mitchell: Lions can go up another notch

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 00:00
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Golden Lions coach John Mitchell believes his side can go up another notch, despite a convincing 29-20 Currie Cup semifinal win over Western Province at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Mitchell said after the match that the Lions' tight five had laid the foundation for an all-round stellar team performance.

"We have to run up again, I think there is still more in us and we can go up another notch. We'll go and have a look at the drawing board we haven't changed too much of our game," Mitchell said.

"It was a very good performance by the guys, a very good team performance. They looked composed, but we certainly can become more accurate. It was nice and physical tonight which was good.

"I think it started from the tight five, it [their performance] fed off that starting point. We scrummed well and we built a lot more pressure."

The Lions' tight five dominated most of the proceedings with the loose trio of captain Joshua Strauss, Michael Rhodes and Man of the Match Derick Minnie also putting in hard graft.

Mitchell's charges will now face the Sharks, in what will be their first home final since 2002 when they lost 31-7 to the Blue Bulls.

The Johannesburg-based side's physical performance will hold them in good stead when they face arguably the best South African forwards pack in the Sharks.

"We have to turn up again, as I said. I think there is still more in us and we can go up another notch," Mitchell said.

"We'll go and have a look at the drawing board we haven't changed too much of our game.

"A couple of our tactics worked for us tonight that I think surprised Province tonight."

The Sharks' and the Lions' semifinal victories set the stage for the battle between the coastal side's coach John Plumtree and Mitchell, who both hail from Hawera in Taranaki, New Zealand.

When the two coaches go head-to-head, their teams also play for the unofficial Hawera Cup.

Mitchell did not want to comment on his friendship or the mini-contest with Plumtree, explaining that his commitment and focus remained with the Lions going into the final.

He said the team would try to stick to the same pre-match build up they had followed throughout the season.

"We are just a step closer and it is important to just enjoy this moment and try to keep the week as normal as possible, and just go for it next week," he said.

"All we've done is present ourselves with what we've been looking of the whole year.

"So all we can control is our own performance and look after our own preparation."

SAPA

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