Lions coach Cash van Rooyen has lauded the five-star performance of young flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse despite his team’s last-minute 39-37 loss to the Stormers in the Rainbow Cup SA competition on Saturday.
Hendrikse, just 19, was named Man of the Match after his solid all-round performance. He showed great composure in his first start at this level, and achieved good distance with his exit kicks, while his game management was top drawer.
“Playing a game like this as a 19-year-old… his performance was really exciting,” said Van Rooyen.
Hendrikse, the SA U20 flyhalf, also managed to spark the Lions backline into action and produced great off-loading skills which led to the try scored by flank MJ Pelser.
“He has got a special gift and is a rare talent,” said Van Rooyen. “He kicks the ball prodigious distances and plays with great confidence. The way he organised the backs was really exciting and I’m happy for him.”
The Lions impressed at scrum time and managed to put the highly rated Stormers pack under pressure.
“We are proud of the scrum, especially with the Stormers having a really good pack,” said Van Rooyen.
“Both our front-rows really played well and someone like Asenathi (Ntlabakanye) playing the last 20 minutes at 20 years old, that’s invaluable experience. The same goes for hooker PJ Botha at 22 or 23.”
Having lead for the majority of the game, Van Rooyen however bemoaned his side’s lack of composure in the final two minutes when they let the Stormers back into the game, with visiting flyhalf Tim Swiel, on as a replacement, slotting the winning penalty.
“Losing is always worse when you actually play well. There were moments when we weren’t consistent enough,” said Van Rooyen.
“It is not nice to lose like that; it hurts. But, it’s our responsibility to stand up again and prepare for next week.”
The Lions next face the Bulls, at Ellis Park, this weekend.