Swys de Bruin says the Lions’ stunning 38-29 victory over the Highlanders at Ellis Park is a timely confidence booster ahead of their upcoming derby matches.
The Lions and Highlanders scored five tries each in a high-octane encounter, but Elton Jantjies’ perfect kicking proved the difference in the hosts’ nine-point triumph.
The win saw the Lions leapfrog the Sharks in third position in the South African conference and got them within two points of new log-leaders the Vodacom Bulls and the second-placed Jaguares.
And according to De Bruin, this performance and result against the Highlanders could signal a turning point in what has been an indifferent campaign for the Lions so far.
‘Plan-wise – what we want to do and the way we want to play – this was the closest we’ve come [this season], if you can take away the soft tries that we conceded. This is a good Highlanders team and they came at us hard, so I was very happy with what I saw from my team,’ De Bruin said.
‘It’s not just about winning for us, but when you do get a win like this it brings a lot confidence and this came at the right time. We face the Sharks down in Durban next week. We got such a hammering against them last, I can’t even remember the exact score, I just know the score was huge.’
The Lions boss was full of praise for Jantjies who converted all six of his kicks at goal and he lauded the impact his substitutes made late in the second half.
‘Being the professional that he is, Elton spent so much time this week practicing his kicking and the extra work that he puts in pays off. It definitely made a difference this week. I’ll tell you that is why we lined up a penalty with 16 minutes left in the game. Before that, we had attacking lineouts that we couldn’t secure and Elton was on song with the boot so we went for the points.
‘As for our replacements, that’s two weeks in a row now that they come on and made a difference. The subs are doing well and we must keep it like that because it is a 23-man effort,’ De Bruin raved.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) May 18, 2019