Practice makes the Lions 'perfect'
INSIGHT: It was that ‘moment of magic’ so many coaches talk about. The one incident that wins a game.
The Tiaan Swanepoel try in the 73rd minute was just such a moment – as the Lions beat the Sharks 27-12 in a crucial Currie Cup match at Ellis Park at the weekend.
However, neither the scoreline nor the actual try tells the full story.
Those are the headlines, but not the REAL story.
Lions captain Elton Jantjies has lifted the lid on what is one of the tries of the season.
And it was no fluke.
With just under 10 minutes remaining the Sharks would have thought they were still in the game – a 68th-minute Curwin Bosch penalty narrowing the gap to 12-20 and a score of any description would have left them with a chance of scoring a late winner.
However, the Lions produced a well-rehearsed move and scored the try that ended the game as a contest.
From a dominant scrum, the Lions set up a ruck about 20 metres in from the right touchline, rapidly recycling possession, with replacement scrumhalf Morné van den Berg delivering a great pass to captain and flyhalf Elton Jantjies. The Lions No.10, in a flash, produced a skip-pass to outside centre Wandisile Simelane.
The fleet-footed Simelane drifted and went outside Sharks Springbok Sibusiso Nkosi – who had been causing problems for the hosts most of the game, by rushing up and out of the line, shutting down attacking moves.
This time Nkosi got his timing wrong and was left floundering on the Ellis Park turf.
Simelane also raced on the inside of Sharks fullback Manie Libbok and danced his way past Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am – leaving defenders sprawling in his wake. He drew the cover and with a sweetly-timed pass sent Swanepoel away, the fullback strolling over untouched.
Jantjies admitted it was satisfying to be able to soak up as much pressure as they did and then deliver the killer blow.
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“It is nice to see things that we’re working on coming off,” the Lions skipper said.
He revealed that it is through repetition that they perfected that move.
“Cash [coach Ivan van Rooyen] probably made us do 50 reps during the week, for one simple try.
“For that to come off, it just shows that the boys are implementing the things that we’re training.
“The guys are working really hard on attack and defence.
“It’s not easy.
“However, if you want to beat big teams or if you want to be a championship team, you have to be willing to work harder than the opposition.”