Signs of hope for the Lions

Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies indicates how many crucial kicks at goal he missed.

The Lions lost narrowly to the Bulls on Saturday, going down 24-20 but they showed enough promise to give hope to the long-suffering Lions’ fans that this season might just be different.

They started too slowly and Webster Elton Jantjies missed too many crucial kicks at goal, but they completely outplayed the Bulls in the second half after being down 24-5 at the break. ¬†Elton ‘Webster’ Jantjies can’t be blamed for the loss, as although he missed several vital shots at goal, he was also the spark that ignited their backline.

It was a far cry from the days of Jorrie Muller’s chip and chase – this Lions backline looked electric with the ball in hand. Webster delivered crisp flat passes that his backs were able to take at speed and with space to move. The Kiwi influence, from Mitchell to Spencer was evident in the Lions’ play, especially in the speed and threat of the latest Kiwi import, James Kamana.

It will be disappointing for the Lions to start off the season with a loss, especially in a match where they played so well. But there is a lot to take heart from here. With the change in the fixture list this season meaning that South African teams will play more games in the Republic than previously, the Lions can certainly target mid-table or higher this season.

Now if only Webster can rediscover his kicking form.