Smith praises 'unreal' Lions
REACTION: Highlanders captain and fullback Ben Smith said he was disappointed with the way his team played in their semifinal against the Lions, but also gave credit to the Johannesburg team.
The defending Super Rugby champions lost 30-42 at Ellis Park against a Lions side that played some exceptional rugby from start to finish.
"The Lions played really well today and they fully deserved the win," said Smith.
"The running rugby that they have been playing has been unreal. We wish them all the best for the Final and it will be a great Final."
Smith said their execution let them down throughout the game.
"We are a bit disappointed with the way we played today. We did not put quite enough pressure on the Lions and we did not quite execute the way would have liked. But I am still really proud of the team," Smith added.
Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph also pinpointed his team's execution as a problem after the game.
"Early on in the game we had a couple of opportunities, which we never nailed," said Joseph. "But at the end of the day I thought the Lions had a marvelous game and they took all their opportunities and put us under pressure.
"You have to give credit where credit is due. They are a very good team; they are a balanced team. We really struggled at the breakdowns today and they got the upper hand at scrum time as well."
The Lions will play the Hurricanes in the Final at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on August 6.