'Gutsy' Lions relish home advantage

Sat, 27 Jul 2013 07:28
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The Lions feel they will have a decisive advantage when they face the Southern Kings in a return match at Ellis Park next week.

The Lions feel they will have a decisive advantage when they face the Southern Kings in a return match at Ellis Park next week.

Despite a late rally from the Kings, the Lions held on for a vital 26-19 win in the first leg of their two-match promotion-relegation series in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

While the losing bonus point (for finishing within seven points) keeps the Kings alive, the Lions believe home ground advantage will give then a clear edge next Saturday as they seek to reclaim the Super Rugby status they were stripped of.

"It [Ellis Park] suits our game," Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg said of the venue for the second match of the series.

"We will look to play a bit with the ball and it will be nice having 40,000 people there supporting us," he added.

Janse van Rensburg, who saw his team being reduced to 14 men in the last 10 minutes, admitted that it was an error-strewn performance.

Asked about the physicality of the hosts in PE, the Lions skipper said: "Hats off to our boys, that was gutsy."

He also spoke of his team's efforts to break down the Kings' defence in a game that ended with two tries each - the difference being the boot of Elton Jantjies, who out-kicked Demetri Catrakilis.

Jantjies kicked four penalties and two conversions (16 points) to Catrakilis's three penalties (nine points).

"We made lots of mistake in the first half and Demetri [Catrakilis] turned those into points," Janse van Rensburg said, adding: "But once we got out of our half, it went very well."

Injuries to loose forward Jaco Kriel, scrumhalf Vian van der Watt and wing Deon van Rensburg also disrupted the Lions at a stage when they held a comfortable 26-14 lead.

"That just shows the character of this team, nomatter what we are a team and we will fight for each other."

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Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10