Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen was thrilled to see his charges get the second stage of the United Rugby Championship (URC) off to a good start, with a 33-25 win over the Dragons at Ellis Park on Sunday afternoon.
It was a comfortable win for the Lions who weren’t really put under much pressure in the match, which allowed them to clinch their first home win of the URC season and get the next 10 match block of games off to a strong start.
“For us in terms of preparation and momentum it (the result) was everything. It was the first game of a 10 week block, our first game at home in this run and first game of three against the Dragons in about six weeks,” said Van Rooyen.
“We knew that they were a team who really want to make a contest and scrap out of it, that’s the way they play. Their rucking is exceptional. So they have the ability to disrupt you and make it ugly and disjointed.
“So in terms of that I am happy with the win, especially at home which was a big focus point for us. But I felt we left a couple of points out there and we should have potentially won with a bonus point.”
Van Rooyen was also impressed with the attitude of his players, who were unhappy to not get a four try bonus point in the match.
“Seeing that the guys were not satisfied with just the win, was really good for me as a coach. It shows that our standards have risen. We probably could have played a bit better but it was important to get the win,” admitted Van Rooyen.
“We can’t get arrogant and say it’s an ugly win. At this stage a win is a win and it puts us in the top eight of the competition.”
The Lions are now preparing to face Scarlets, who were beaten by a youthful Stormers team over the past weekend, this coming Sunday and the Lions will be targeting another good win to take into the Challenge Cup competition.
“We now have a good opportunity against Scarlets. They came back well against the Stormers when they started playing with the ball in hand. So it will be a bit of a different challenge from then,” said Van Rooyen.
“But if we can hopefully manage eight or nine points from these two games it will set us up well for the EPCR (Challenge Cup).”