Lions coach Swys de Bruin has hailed his side’s defensive structures following their 40-23 quarter-final victory against the Jaguares in Johannesburg on Saturday.
After racing to a 24-9 half-time lead, the Lions were put on the back foot in the second half as the Jaguares scored two quickfire tries to make it a four-point game. However, the Lions rang the changes in the final quarter of the match, which boosted the side as they finished the stronger of the teams.
De Bruin praised the team’s defensive effort in the post-match press conference and applauded his bench for securing the Lions’ victory.
‘I thought at stages our defence was great, at the right times,’ De Bruin said. ‘You must credit a team like the Jaguares and how well they did on attack. If they can break through and score, then you must say well done to them.
‘We realised beforehand that they use solo runners, so the opportunity was there for the stealers. There were a few [turnovers] that Harold [Vorster] just missed and Kwagga [Smith] was in there so they couldn’t get quick ball. That was a big plus.
‘I thought our substitutes made a hell of a difference. If you look at the way Lourens [Erasmus] ran back to hold a player up, Johannes Jonker and Marnus [Schoeman] made an impact when they came on. I am very pleased with the team effort tonight.’
De Bruin anticipates an attacking onslaught from the Waratahs, who will want revenge for their 29-0 loss to the Lions in Sydney earlier in the season.
‘Their strengths and the way they attack are a bit different. They play from edge-to-edge a lot and vary their kicks. They have a lot of international players and we anticipate a team that will be up there.
‘The Waratahs were third [on tries scored] so they know how to find your tryline. But with the defensive effort that I saw today, I am happy.’
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