Tourists Hold No Grudges after 'Battle of Port Elizabeth'

Cape Times (South Africa), June 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

Tourists Hold No Grudges after 'Battle of Port Elizabeth'


BYLINE: ASHFAK MOHAMED

PORT ELIZABETH: British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan praised his team for their "professional and disciplined" response to the Southern Kings' challenge in yesterday's 20-8 victory at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Kings came out to meet the Lions head-on in the physical stakes and knocked back their opponents in the tackle area throughout the match. There were also some off-the-ball incidents and late tackles, one of which led to a yellow card to Kings flyhalf Jaco van der Westhuyzen for his no-arms hit on Lions centre Riki Flutey.

"The penalty try proved that we had kept our hands in the face of the Kings' approach," McGeechan said at the after-match press conference last night. "We hurt them where it hurts most with that penalty try.

"I thought we were very professional and disciplined. The Kings were obviously keen to do well, and we wanted to do better, which I thought we did. I mean, eight of our guys played their second game in three days, so credit to them for today's performance."

Lions captain on the day Donncha O'Callaghan said that even though some of his players did not want to shake hands with certain Kings players afterwards, there was no bad blood between the two teams.

"We were disappointed about conceding a try, but there is no ill feeling about supposed cheap shots," he said. "Things happen during a game, but they came into our change room afterwards and we exchanged jerseys."

There were some wounded Lions after the "Battle of Port Elizabeth", with flyhalf James Hook unlikely to be considered for the first Test due to concussion, prop Euan Murray having a sprained ankle and several other players nursing bumps and bruises.

The Kings gave the Lions a hard time at the breakdowns, with Man of the Match Mpho Mbiyozo a menace in that area. But McGeechan was not overly concerned ahead of the first Test in Durban on Saturday. …

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