Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen was full of praise for Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis and Jaco Kriel in the wake of their 27-12 victory over the Sharks at Ellis Park.
The Lions outplayed the Sharks in every facet of the game to claim a comprehensive triumph that lifted them up to second on the log, behind the Vodacom Bulls.
The foundation for this result was built up front, with the Lions pack dominating the set pieces and the point of contact at the collisions. While the forward dominance was a feature of the Lions’ game, one player in particular who stood out was Alberts.
The former Bok flank was superb and claimed the Man of the Match award after the game. Du Plessis and Kriel – who along with Alberts are back at the Lions after lengthy stints in Europe – also wound back the clock by churning out excellent shifts against the Sharks.
And for Van Rooyen, it’s their willingness to lead by example instead of just words that is turning the Lions pack into a weapon.
‘What I respect about guys like Willem, Jannie and Jaco, is they don’t just talk a big game or talk in the team room about how to do things, their actions are speaking louder at this stage,’ Van Rooyen said.
‘I’m proud of them, they’re willing to put their hands up through actions, they’re willing to put their hands up by getting it dirty and I think that’s positive.’
Van Rooyen though was equally impressed with his team’s overall performance and their precise execution of the game-plan he set out for the Sharks.
‘’The guys were consistent on attack and defence. A team like the Sharks want to put a lot of pressure on you defensively, making it difficult to get continuity on attack.
‘The key again is to stay patient and I feel we executed well when we did manage to create one or two chances. Defensively, I’m proud of the guys. They worked hard, individually they put their hand up and it helps to have one or two big hitters, like Willem. We’re getting better every week and I’m proud of that.’
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