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'They put their bodies on the line'

REACTION: Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen praised his team’s character after their victory over the Stormers in Cape Town at the weekend.


The team from Johannesburg outscored their opponents by four tries to three on their way to a 37-19 win.

They are currently the highest-ranked South African team in the United Rugby Championship standings, with 11 points.

The Sharks have nine points after their win over the Bulls, while the Stormers have seven points. The Bulls are second from the bottom with five points.

With the bonus point secured in Cape Town as well, Saturday’s result could be a very valuable one for the Lions going forward.

“I think there were quite a few errors, but that was probably through ambitious attack and physicality from both sides,” Van Rooyen told reporters after the match.

“We are delighted to come away with the win. I am really proud of the guys.


“There was a willingness to fight for one another and they put their bodies on the line.

“Given that we haven’t played in about seven weeks, I think it was decent showing in terms of a game for the spectator.”

Van Rooyen said his team’s defence played a huge role in the win.

“At the end on our tryline, I think that showed the character of the team,” he added. “It showed where we are as a team in terms of culture and the willingness to improve and the willingness to fight.


“I really do feel that we are improving in the majority of areas, but the defence was probably the point of difference [in this match].”

Despite seven weeks without playing and uncertainty around the schedule, Van Rooyen said his team was mentally ready for the challenge in Cape Town.

“I think we learnt in the last year and a half that anything is possible and if you don’t adapt and if you don’t move onto the next occasion then you are going to get stuck a little bit,” said Van Rooyen.

“We gave the guys three weeks off after the tour and then we really had a tough four weeks. It was supposed to be three but last week got cancelled.

“But the occasion of playing a derby and playing the Stormers in Cape Town assisted us mentally a little bit.

“Also, in terms of the schedule, the next game should be early January, so we knew we could go flat out and I am just fortunate that it went our way.”



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