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Hendrikse hands Lions a 'nice headache'

REACTION: Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen is a happy man after his team’s United Rugby Championship Round Eight win over the Dragons on Sunday.

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The Lions recorded their first home win of the season, beating Dragons 33-25 at Ellis Park on Sunday.

While the match was a little bit scrappy, the Lions managed to grind out a win with Jordan Hendrikse being the standout performer.

The young flyhalf contributed 19 points to the team’s tally – two conversions, three penalties, a drop goal and a try.

The 21-year-old’s performance once again underlined how much depth of South African rugby has in the flyhalf department.

Speaking to reporters, coach Van Rooyen said the Lions’ flyhalf selection in terms of Hendrikse, along with Gianni Lombard, is certainly a good headache for any coach.

“Jordan has been training exceptionally well the last two to three weeks. He and Gianni give us something different and it’s a nice headache to have,” Van Rooyen said.

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“The one is defensively world-class and the other one is world-class on attack. Depending on how we want to play and what is needed it is undoubtedly good to have both of them.

“They are both really young. Hendrikse is 21 and Lombard is 24, so both of them are growing and developing well.”

Van Rooyen admitted there are one or two work-ons following the team’s first game of three against the Dragons.

The two teams will again face each other in the European Challenge Cup.

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“It’s the first game of three against the Dragons in about six weeks,” Van Rooyen said.

“We knew they are a team that really want to make it a contest. Their rucking is exceptional so they have the ability to disrupt you and make it ugly and disjointed.”

He explained: “It felt like we were stuck with slow ball all the time and with that, it was a race around the corner and a battle of the inches.

“We saw a little bit of space from the coaching box and felt the pressure was there and I do think our managing and identification of space could have been better.”

He added: “I am happy with the win, we left a couple of points out there which could have been a bonus point, but overall a win is a win.”

The Lions face the Scarlets on Sunday at Ellis Park.

 

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