The Lions are desperately looking for answers after another chastening defeat, while counting the cost of continued injuries after their 33-3 United Rugby Championship (URC) drubbing at the hands of Munster in Cork on Friday night.
In dreadful conditions the Lions were completely outplayed, with the hosts running in four tries, two of which were converted and knocked over three penalties, against just one penalty in response from the visitors.
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What will be of increasing concern to the Lions management was seeing young stars Jordan Hendrikse and Henco van Wyk both go off with injuries during the game.
Flyhalf Hendrikse was replaced in the first half with what appeared to be an ankle injury, while centre Van Wyk went off with a knee injury in the second half and both are now in doubt for their Challenge Cup encounter against Stade Francais this coming weekend.
The Lions are already missing regular starters such as props Sti Sithole and Ruan Dreyer, team captain and lock Reinhard Nothnagel, eighthman Francke Horn, scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba and wing Sibahle Maxwane through injury.
So adding Hendrikse and Van Wyk to that growing list will come as hammer blows for the team and they will be hoping for a promising prognosis when they are eventually assessed.
“Jordan and Henco are pretty sore. We are travelling for quite a long time (on Saturday) and the injuries have to settle a bit for 48 hours, so that’s why we’re waiting a bit. We hope it’s not too bad,” explained Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen after the match on Friday.
Looking at the game Van Rooyen admitted that they were well beaten, but thought that they didn’t get the reward their scrum dominance deserved, and believed that their performance didn’t warrant such a heavy defeat.
“We probably didn’t get the reward we deserved after that third repeated scrum,” explained Van Rooyen.
“We felt we had ascendancy in that instance going forward and the decision probably proved a bit of a momentum-stopper. If we managed to score five or seven points there, we might’ve really put Munster under pressure.
“At stages we managed our territory, but on other occasions we overplayed a bit. Early in the second half we forced an attacking offload and ended up back in our own half, so the errors were expensive.”
Van Rooyen continued: “We don’t really have the ability currently to capitalise on opposition mistakes, or take our chances when we create them and turn them into points.
“So we’re very disappointed with the result. It’s not nice against a good Munster team that’s really been in form. I didn’t feel like they were 30 points better than us given the talk in the change room, but they were very good at capitalising on their opportunities.”