Mitchell blames Lions impatience for Canes loss

Lions coach John Mitchell says that his team’s impatience was to blame after they let victory against the Hurricanes slip through their fingers on Friday.

The Lions were leading with five minutes left on the clock but Butch James was caught offside which gave the Hurricanes the penalty they needed to win the match.

“I thought our second half was a very good performance,” Mitchell said.

“Our first half lacked patience and ball retention, and we seemed very individual in the parts that we played.”

The hosts established a one-point lead over the tourists when Butch James powered himself over the line for a converted try with 10 minutes left in the encounter.

The hosts needed only to keep the Hurricanes pinned in their half to ensure their second successive victory in the competition.

Their hopes, however, were dashed when Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett converted a penalty two minutes before time to clinch a 30-28 victory.

The Lions had a wealth of opportunities to take the game away from the Hurricanes but bad decision making and their inability to finish ultimately cost them the match.

To add insult to injury, they allowed the Hurricanes to capitalise on their mistakes and score on two occasions.

Lions skipper Joshua Strauss said his troops would go back to the drawing board on Monday to remedy the errors they made in the match.

“They scored off our mistakes,” Strauss said.

“That is something that shouldn’t have happened, so we will look back at it and fix what we did wrong.

“I think we had a better second-half performance and showed some character but we let ourselves down.”

The Lions also lost one of their key attacking platforms when injury forced the scrums to be uncontested early in the first half.

CJ van der Linde replaced JC Janse van Rensburg 11 minutes into the match and found himself on the bench five minutes before the break.

This left only Pat Cilliers as a specialist prop and led to uncontested scrums after the Lions had dominated this facet of the game early on.

“I think we were scrimmaging very well,” Mitchell said.

“In fact, it would have made the contest a little bit different, especially the pressure that takes and the energy that it takes out of the legs.

“The contest didn’t present that, it presented an uncontested scrum.”

This played into the Hurricanes’ hands as they snatched their first win of the competition.

“It was a great game and it was a pity that it had to go to uncontested scrums,” said Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett.

“I think it became an advantage and a disadvantage for both teams.”

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