Ivan van Rooyen has praised the “quality” decision-making of Sanele Nohamba after the playmaker spearheaded the Lions’ first win of the season on Saturday.
Nohamba, who started at flyhalf, controlled the game for The Pride against Scarlets in Wales and converted all three of their tries and a penalty for a nine-point haul in a 24-23 comeback win. His quick thinking also led to the touchdown for hooker PJ Botha.
It helped give the travelling Joburgers their first win of the 2023-24 Vodacom URC, and moved them up two spots on the log to 12th with eight points ahead of a trip to Belfast on Friday to face Ulster.
“I think after a win you will always say it worked out,” Lions head coach Van Rooyen said on the call to shift Man of the Match Nohamba to pivot from his regular slot at scrumhalf.
“I think Morne [van den Berg] and Sanele offered us something a little bit different in the kicking game and attack-wise.
“We will reassess for next week, but Sanele is a quality player. He is a great rugby player. The more times you can get the ball in his hands the more decisions he can make, which is good.”
He added: “We were very lucky. I think that’s the difference in a competition like this. It is small margins. Luckily, it was on our side and last weekend [against Benetton] it wasn’t.
“We gave ourselves the opportunity by staying in there every time we conceded points. We applied pressure back onto them and luckily it worked out for us.”
Ulster edged defending champions Munster 21-14 at home in round 4 and sit fourth on the table, but Van Rooyen believes the victory in Llanelli has given his troops a boost to end their four-week tour on a high.
“Any win is good. Away from home and in tough European conditions is even better,” he said.
“We know that it is going to be tough in Ulster, but it’s almost like a momentum shift and the positive talk and the energy is already different.
“Obviously. we will get a little bit of confidence out of this.”
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