Lions coach Swys de Bruin lauded his team’s character on defence after they picked up their first Super Rugby win on Argentine soil, beating the Jaguares 25-16 in Buenos Aires at the weekend.
Scoring three tries to one, it was the Lions’ maiden success after three successive failed attempts at the Jaguares’ home ground.
“If the people at home could only know how absolutely sweaty the ball was. It was 38 degrees when we ran on and we knew our defence would have to take over,” De Bruin said.
“And the boys really tackled them into mistakes like I haven’t see for quite a while.”
Though flank Marnus Schoeman was the big hero with a hat-trick of tries, new prop Carlu Sadie was also superb at the breakdowns, and locks Marvin Orie and Rhyno Herbst got through lots of work on defence.
“We are really happy with the result,” De Bruin said.
“It’s a pity we couldn’t get the bonus point, but we’ll take the win any day.”
After Schoeman scored his first try from a rolling maul in the third minute, the Jaguares threatened to take control with their only try by prop Santiago Medrano.
A superb scrum on a Jaguares ball allowed Schoeman to stroll over for his second try, however, giving the Lions a half-time lead of 15-13.
“Defence always showed me the character of the guys and how hungry they were,” De Bruin said.
“The ball was so slippery that it was tough to play an attacking game, so we knew we had to back our defence.
“At half-time I challenged the guys again on the defence and not so much the attack.”
The Lions had to wait for the 70th minute for Schoeman’s third try, finally putting some daylight between them and the fiery home side, with the visitors having to make twice as many tackles as their opponents.
“It was one of those games where if you can win you must take it,” De Bruin said.
“The guys showed a lot of character out there.”