The Lions’ uncanny ability to suffocate teams with their pressurised approach holds the key in this weekend’s Super Rugby quarter-final at Ellis Park, according to their coach Swys de Bruin.
Though they finished top of the SA Conference for the third straight year after their commanding 38-12 win over the Bulls at the weekend, De Bruin believed the Jaguares would hold a different challenge.
“Luckily we’ve got a good home record against them but they will come with a totally different challenge than we had against the Bulls,” he said.
De Bruin, who lauded the 31 106 strong crowd for spurring his team on, felt the Jaguares, who stayed behind in Durban after their 20-10 defeat to the Sharks, had a different system in place.
“The way they play off their flyhalf with their runners is different, so we will have to put a massive defensive effort in this weekend, not just from defence, but to pressure them to get the ball back, applying pressure on their attack,” he said.
Scoring six tries to two, with ace hooker Malcolm Marx playing the main destroyer, the Lions scored 38 unanswered points after the Bulls held an early 12-0 lead.
“We didn’t get what we planned for and we went a bit conservative with the forward pack, but we backed them. When we needed them they took over,” De Bruin said.
Elsewhere, the Waratahs’ defeat to the Brumbies paved the way for the Lions to finish second in the overall standings and potentially earn a home semifinal as well.
“We said to the guys everything is going our way so we must use it… I believe this is a blessed team and if we do our stuff right, stick to what we believe in our brotherhood, the results will come, and it happened last weekend.
“Gone are the log points. Now it’s just about the next game and if we lose you get knocked out.”
Lions captain Warren Whiteley believed the team was on the right track.
“It’s now the business end of the competition and we know there’s still a lot of areas where we need to improve,” the skipper said.
“Defensively we can work a bit harder but I feel we can get there. We are on the right track, on an upward curve.”