‘De Allende in great form’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's match at Ellis Park.

'Ironically the Lions tried a drop goal from a long way out to try secure a draw, and then when they had penalties in front of the posts, they take quick taps and try to score tries. But the momentum was so much with them once the Stormers kicked deep and they ran it back. Then they held possession and probably would've scored were it not for a wonderful tackle from Damian de Allende. Howard Mnisi is over the line and he's punched the ball out of his hand – that was the victory. The Lions were that close today.

'De Allende is back on form. What I like about him is he holds the ball in two hands when he's running, he's looking to offload and at the last moment when he can't, he'll tuck it in and take contact. As opposed to tuck it in, and then the defence knows for certain that he's going to take contact.

'In difficult conditions, I thought both teams played fabulous rugby, got stuck into each other on defence, at set phases and at the breakdown. It was really exciting right down to the last minute, as was the previous game [between the Bulls and the Sharks].

'The Lions, particularly in this competition, are going to need to rotate. At the beginning of the season you would've said that Marnitz Boshoff was an absolute certainty to start in all the important games and [Elton] Jantjies had a very good game today. Ross Cronjé was the starting No 9, and then Faf [de Klerk] had an opportunity today. So the Lions are looking to use a rotational policy to keep everyone interested, similarly to the way the Chiefs have operated in the opening games.

'The Stormers lineout and set piece didn't go as well as expected, but that last lineout drive was very well controlled. They kicked into the corner, had a good throw to the front which the Lions left open for them to win, and was impossible to stop once they got it going.'

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Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

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Nick Mallett