Lions starting to find their inner roar

12 September 2017 - 16:15 By Liam Del Carme
Joey Mongalo (Defence Coach) during the Xerox Golden Lions team announcement at Emirates Airline Park Media Centre on August 10, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Joey Mongalo (Defence Coach) during the Xerox Golden Lions team announcement at Emirates Airline Park Media Centre on August 10, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Joey Mongalo stopped just short of likening their early performances in the Currie Cup to the fumbling of strangers in the night.

It is no great leap from what the Golden Lions skills coach actually said.

“We have started to date each other. Starting to find each other. We've been feeling each other out‚” Mongalo explained the team's upward curve in recent weeks.

The Lions were rock bottom of the seven-team Currie Cup two weeks ago but they have moved into the top four thanks to wins over the Pumas and Griquas.

“We never had a pre season but we are seeing the value of the guys having been together for a while‚” he said about their turn around.

“Tactically how we want to play‚ finding team synergy and settling into combinations has happened over the last three weeks.

"Now it's the same team‚ same coaching staff and we are just trying to find consistency in that. That's probably the main difference.”

What has also impacted was the re-assigning of responsibility within the coaching corps.

“We are a very united coaching group. That's across juniors and seniors. We speak the same language on attack and defence.

"It is quite a smooth transition when a player or a coach moves up. We played quite a few u19 and u21 players in the Currie Cup team.”

Mongalo then said something that should not be disregarded by their major rivals.

“The improvement has been gradual. Every week we are getting slightly better. We're building team cohesion on and off the field.

"We still haven't hit our straps.”

As much as the Lions have shown improvement‚ their opponents on Saturday come off a bye having spent much time observing themselves in the mirror.

“I think just as much as you've seen improvement from us we can expect them to improve as well‚” Mongalo said of the Blue Bulls.

“They have conceded quite a few points. Mitch (John Mitchell‚ their coach) has been in the public eye and he hasn't been shy in saying they want to work on that.

"He's a New Zealander‚ so we're expecting them to play a bit of an expansive game. They will run counter attack and try and keep the ball for longer periods of time.”

The Blue Bulls will‚ however‚ arrive at Ellis Park with a team weakened by injury.

Hooker Jaco Visagie will later this week undergo surgery to repair cartilage in his shoulder‚ while centre Dries Swanepoel has undergone surgery to mend an Achilles tendon.

He will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

- TimesLIVE

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