Swys' struggling young Lions 'paying their dues'

Cape Town - Lions coach Swys de Bruin says that his side's struggles in Super Rugby this year are largely down to a period of rebuilding.

Runners-ups in all of the last three editions of the tournament, the Lions are battling in 2019 and are now rock bottom of what is proving to be a tightly-contested South African conference. 

The latest disappointment was Saturday's 31-20 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra which came after a 42-5 thrashing at the hands of the Sharks at Ellis Park two weekends ago. 

De Bruin, though, keeps insisting that this year is not all about the results for the Lions and he draws comparisons between this group of players and the one that started together in 2014. 

At that stage the Lions were battling the Kings for a place in Super Rugby, but what followed was an era that saw them become one of the most dominant sides in the southern hemisphere under former coach Johan Ackermann. 

"You have to crawl before you can walk and tonight I saw some of our attacking coming back," De Bruin told media after the match.

"At this stage it's not about winning or losing for us. I know it sounds weird, but it can't be when you're bringing in new guys.

"We've lost 13 guys just up front to Europe in the last year.

"The loosehead prop (Nathan McBeth) is 20 and Hacjivah (Dayimani) is 21-years-old ... we have guys that we're blooding and that's how you learn.

"It's more or less the same place we were in 2014 ... we have to pay our dues."

De Bruin also believed there were positives to take from Saturday's loss. 

"There is a bitter taste in my mouth and there is when you lose, but what do you do? Tomorrow the sun will shine and you have to work it from there," he said.

"We can't be negative now and go in our shells ... we have to work harder and rectify our mistakes."

Things do not get any easier for the Lions, who must now travel to Hamilton for a date with the Chiefs on Friday morning. 

Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time).