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Lions weren’t hungry enough

Lions captain Andr’ Pretorius admitted that his team simply was not hungry enough, after they were on the wrong end of a 34-7 defeat against the Chiefs in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Friday.

It was the Chiefs’ first win of the season, with the five tries to one triumph moving the Chiefs into 10th place on the standings – still well below the sixth place occupied by the Lions.

However, the Chiefs looked like a team in play-0off contention and the Lions looked like they belonged near the bottom end of the standings.

Pretorius said the team wanted to finish their Australasian tour with a win against the Chiefs, to go with the two they scored in Australia.

But he could only reflect on what was described as a “tough day at the office” and a very ordinary performance by the South African outfit.

“We never gave ourselves a chance and the chances we had we wasted,” Pretorius said.

“We lost ball in contact too often. It was the basic stuff that cost us.

“The Chiefs were very physical and they came out firing.

“They had some narrow losses and they really wanted this game. I think they wanted it more than us,” Pretorius said, adding that they are looking forward to returning home to South Africa where they now have a six-match run in which they hope to collect enough points to remain in the play-off race.

Lions coach Eugene Eloff was understandably very disappointed with the manner in which the team ended their tour, after they showed so much promise in the first half of the trip in Australia.

“It is a very disappointing result,” Eloff said.

“The Chiefs capitalised on our errors and once again we conceded tries because of turnover ball.”

Eloff also spoke about the wins they picked up in Australia and said they will lift their heads and work hard for the home leg.

“We’ve done well to pick up eight points [on tour] and although there are a lot of disappointed players, we are still positive because of what we have achieved on tour.

“We are looking forward to coming home. There are few things to work on, but we are still very much in the competition.”

In contrast Chiefs captain Tom Willis expressed his delight in his team finally having broken their duck.

“It’s nice to come into the shed [dressing room] with a win under our belts, after what had been some tough times for us,” Willis said.

“We defended very well, but we lacked finesse and looked like a team who was desperately trying to win and close the game out. But in the end we hung in there and came home with a storm,” he added.

Willis was full of praise for the role utility back Tasesa Lavea – who started at inside centre – played in combining with fly-half Stephen Donald to shut out the Lions’ dangerous backs.

Lavea came back from injury to start in the number 12 jersey.

“It’s nice to have Tasesa [Lavea] back. He didn’t go on tour with us [to South Africa], but he had a fantastic game and really helped Stephen [Donald] and took the pressure off him. Together they put on a top performance.”

The Chiefs captain said having achieved their first win doesn’t mean they will now be able to take things easy.

Next week they face the Reds in Brisbane and Willis said it will be another tall order.

“We’ll grow from this [the victory], but the competition goes on.

“It certainly doesn’t get any easier.

“It is nice to sit here with a win, take the weekend off and then come back Monday. But it is job on next week,” he added


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