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Lions have 'belief' after Galway heroics

REACTION: Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen says his side will be riding a wave of confidence after they recorded a 38-14 win over Connacht in Galway on Saturday.

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The win was even more impressive if you consider that the Lions played around 65 minutes of the match with just 14 men after prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye received a red card for a high tackle.

The result lifted the Lions into the top eight in the United Rugby Championship standings and they will now head to Wales to face Ospreys before a Challenge Cup Round of 16 tie against Benetton in Italy.

“To see the fight, the workrate, the effort was awesome, especially seeing guys having a crack in the 80th minute,” said Van Rooyen.

He added: “We knew coming into this two-game URC tour that we got to get as many points as possible.

“The log is so congested and there is obviously a bit of belief after a win like this.

“It is important for us to enjoy tonight [Saturday] and reset and head to Wales.

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“So, for the next job, it’s just about getting on with it.”

Van Rooyen also gave some insight into what was going on in his mind when his side was reduced to 14 men so early in the game.

“To be honest we thought ‘do we take a forward off or do we take a back off’,” said Van Rooyen.

“With Connacht’s attacking style we just felt that they would get a big advantage with their backs, so we had to make a decision and unfortunately Manny [Emmanuel Tshituka] was the guy to miss out.

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“I felt from the beginning we were in it. The message was just to keep on going.”

Van was also surprised that the weather in Galway played into the Lions’ hands.

“It was dry which we didn’t really expect.

“It was chilly. The wind was strong for us, but I think it was average for Galway.

“We expected it to be wet so to get this is a blessing.”

@rugby365com

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