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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Kwagga Smith © Gallo Images

Kwagga warns Lions to lift standards

Emirates Lions flanker Kwagga Smith had a clear message to his teammates following their defeat at the hands of the Blues in the Vodacom Super Rugby match last weekend: We weren’t up to standard.

Smith made the harsh self-assessment after his side lost a 28-10 lead against the Blues to lost 38-35 in the last 20 minutes. The flanker said the team will want to see a return to their normal form this weekend when they take on the Sunwolves.

Smith said while the team had lost, there were lessons learnt from last weekend’s performance.

“For us as a team we learnt a lot out of last weekend. We didn’t go into the game as focused as we should have been. But luckily for us it is early in the season and we still have time to make up and play. For us it is a good thing that we can get back to earth and start working again,” Smith explained.

The breakdown was one area that the Lions came short in the last 20 minutes, and one which they don’t want to have happen again. With Lappies Labuschagne in the Sunwolves squad, Smith is wary of the threat the Sunwolves pose.

“Every weekend there is a different challenge but last weekend we slipped up on our cleaners and that gave them a chance to get onto the ball so we made it easy for them, where other teams made it difficult for us. Each week is a different challenge but it is a good thing it is a challenge so you can step up and get better as a player.”

Still, last year the Lions almost put up a century against the Sunwolves, matching a local radio station’s call-sign with a 94-7 scoreline against the Japanese side, so they shouldn’t have too many problems with their opposition. But Smith isn’t taking the Japanese franchise lightly.

“I don’t think we must underestimate any team but I think we weren’t up to standard in those last 20 minutes because we measure ourselves against ourselves and they scored tries off our mistakes.

“We lost the ball at the breakdown and we lost the ball in contact. I think that gave them too many opportunities to counter and to attack us.

“We had good control in the first half and we lost control in the second half. In the end we lost control, we lost ball in contact and that gave the control to them. For us, we must be more clinical, we need to keep more ball in hand and playing the teams to tire them out and not to give them ball to run at us.”

While he is fast becoming a cult figure at Emirates Airline Park, Smith is still humble about the attention he is currently receiving, and is still chasing his dream of making the Springbok team in the fifteen man code to add to his Sevens Bok caps.

“I think you always work to be the best and to become the best and for me there is always a lot I have to work on,” Smith smiled when asked about the status.

“I have my goals set for this year and next year.I’m definitely working hard to get there and it is lucky I am in a good team and a good system, so it is easier for me to perform.”

If Smith’s warning is heeded the Sunwolves may be staring down a barrel on Saturday.


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