Their pre-game plan to start with two locks in their back row was key to their 37-24 Super Rugby victory over the
Sunwolves in Singapore at the weekend, Lions coach Swys de Bruin believes.
After leading 12-7 at half-time, the Lions replaced the heavier duo of Stephan Lewies and Ruan Vermaak with Hacjivah Dayimani and James Venter, speeding up the game.
“We knew the heat would be terrible and we played two locks in loose forward positions,” De Bruin said.
“So the message at half-time was just to stick to the structure and plan, and they did. Credit to Malcolm (Marx) and Elton (Jantjies) for sticking to that.”
De Bruin was pleased with the success of their tactical decisions.
“When the two young loose forwards came up, we could move around a bit, and I must say they made a difference. It was the right time, but our tight five laid the platform earlier,” he said.
“When you play the Sunwolves it’s sometimes easier to play without the ball and wait for them to make mistakes.”
Marx scored the only two tries for his team in the first half, but in the second half the Lions grabbed four more to earn a bonus point.
“To be honest, at the back of the maul it’s easier and the guys up front did the donkey work,” Marx said.
“I got the two tries but in essence it was a team effort.”
The Lions skipper, meanwhile, felt it was sad that the Sunwolves’ days were numbered in the Super Rugby competition.
“If you look at where they were and where they are now, there have been massive improvements,” Marx said.
“They take you on, play with organised chaos and their rugby has grown from strength to strength.”
With the Lions enjoying a bye this week, they will feel comfortable after moving back to the top of the table in the SA Conference and settling in second place overall.