Using their big pack to wear the Sunwolves down, the Lions recorded their third straight Super Rugby success with a 37-24 bonus-point victory in Singapore on Saturday.
Going into the halftime time with a slender lead of 12-7, Swys de Bruin’s charges turned on the heat in the second half to add four more tries, some of them from some sweeping attacking moves.
It was a deflating reality check for the Sunwolves, who had been on an upward curve despite hearing this week that they’ll be axed from the tournament in 2021.
Who was the star in this match?
Lions captain Malcolm Marx led from the front in enjoying a storming game. He rounded off two maul tries for his team in the first half and was his pesky self at the breakdowns, stealing two balls as well as completing all eight of his tackles.
Key moments and themes
- The Lions didn’t start the game particularly well with the Sunwolves going up 7-0 after as many minutes. What compounded things is that right wing Sylvian Mahuza was sent to the sin bin for preventing the try that was turned into a penalty try anyway.
- However, the men from Doornfontein gave the first illustration of the calmness they would show during that period, where they knuckled down and kept things tighter. In fact, Marx’s first try came with them still a man down and it represented a huge psychological victory.
- De Bruin will also be pleased by how well his makeshift loose trio, which featured to locks, performed. They added a crucial edge in the collisions and Stephan Lewies in particular responded well, carrying out his varied duties well.
- Having bossed the tighter exchanges previously, the Lions then used that platform to run more freely after half-time. Lionel Mapoe’s gem of a try from a Hacjivah Dayimani break was particularly pleasing on the eye.
- The Sunwolves remain a dangerous attacking side, but their fundamentals were poor in this game. They missed 26 of their tackles and botched three of their seven lineouts.
Lions – Tries: Malcolm Marx (2), Nic Groom, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Hacjivah Dayimani. Conversions: Jantjies (2). Penalty: Jantjies.
Sunwolves – Tries: Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (2), Penalty try. Conversions: Hayden Parker (2). Penalty: Parker.