Lions looking to shore up defence for Chiefs

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Sunday, April 14, 2019    Getty Images

Now sitting at the bottom of the South African Conference after their 20-31 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra, they face the Chiefs on Friday, and a week later they will play the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Chiefs, after their third consecutive win when beating the Blues in a thrilling 33-29 win at the weekend, will be a tough proposition on their home ground.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin was disappointed with the side's defensive effort but said it was all part of the education of the younger side he now had.

During the first 10 minutes he felt the Lions were right in the game but then two defensive slips and suddenly they were 14 points down. That would be a definite work-on heading into the Chiefs' week.

He was happier with the attack and he felt younger players who have been introduced were doing well.
De Bruin said: "At this stage, it's not really about winning and losing. It sounds weird but it can't be if you've got so many guys that you're bringing in.

"We lost 13 guys only up front in the last year that are all playing in Europe. The loosehead [Nathan McBeth] is 20 years old.

"[No.8] Hacjivah Dayimani is 20 years old. They are guys that we're blooding, and that is how you learn.

"It's more or less the same place where we were in 2014. There are nice experienced guys, but we will have to pay our dues. Today at stages I saw a nice attacking style that came back, but we just didn't finish," he said.

However, some experience will be available to the squad with captain Warren Whiteley recovered from a pectoral injury. Late last week he was cleared by Lions medical staff to play and he joined the side in Canberra but was too late to play, but is expected to be available for the Chiefs game.

"We know how tough the expectations are from us. I am confident, but you have got to learn to crawl before you can walk. There are a lot of positives. There is a bitter taste in my mouth when you lose but what do you do?

"Success is written in ice but tomorrow the sun will shine, and you've got to work on it from there.

"We can't be negative now. We can't go into our shells – we've got to work harder and rectify our mistakes," he said.

De Bruin will also be looking for a lead from experienced centre Lionel Mapoe who played his 100th Super Rugby game at the weekend. He was an inspiration for the younger players the coach said.