Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has attributed his team’s marked turnaround in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship to them playing against European sides, and not in local derbies.
The Lions beat Ospreys 45-15 at Ellis Park on Friday to make it three wins in as many matches in the URC for the Joburg outfit. Prior to their recent good run of form, the Lions had lost five consecutive games – four of them against South African opponents.
Van Rooyen believes the fresh challenge of facing European teams for the first time eased some of the mental pressure on his men, who next face Edinburgh at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“We’re playing against the unknown, and with the South African derbies, it was slightly tougher mentally to get up for the challenge,” Van Rooyen said.
“I think with the international teams, the uncertainty is good for us, but mentally, we’re in a good place and we’ll have time to recover physically.
“Edinburgh will play all of their internationals, whereas, with Ospreys, their internationals were on the bench. They’ll also come with their attacking game, but we’ll be prepared for the challenge.”