Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Lions boss lauds team’s ‘courageous defence’ in win against Pumas

The Lions scored four tries against the defending champions and only conceded one.

Lions Currie Cup coach Mziwakhe Nkosi has expressed his delight in his team’s 26-10 win against the Pumas at Ellis Park on Friday.

The win moved the Lions up the points table, into fifth place, before Saturday’s games. They have now won three times in eight outings.

For the Pumas, who are the defending champions, it was a big setback, as their loss, combined with the win in Bloemfontein later on Friday by the Cheetahs over the Griffons (33-10), means Jimmy Stonehouse’s Pumas have lost first place in the standings.

The Cheetahs now lead the way with 31 points, followed by the Pumas with 29. Next are the Sharks, Griquas and Lions, all on 19, followed by the Bulls, 17, and Western Province (16) and Griffons (7).

On Saturday, the Sharks host Griquas at 1.30pm and WP and the Bulls lock horns at 6.30pm.

Discipline and defence

“Obviously it was an improved performance, in particular that it was against the defending champions,” said Nkosi about the Lions’ four-try-to-one victory against the Pumas.

“We had a good start, but there are still concerns about our discipline. It is something that let us down in the first round, and we vowed to turn it around (in the second half of the competition).

“But, also, there was some courageous defence as well … to keep the Pumas tryless for nearly 80 minutes was something to congratulate the boys about. I’m proud of that and I’m happy to get the five points.”

Man of the match

Man of the match JC Pretorius was involved in his first Currie Cup match since converting from Sevens to the XV-man game. While Nkosi said there were still plenty of things for the Sevens star to work on, he was pleased with the flanker’s contribution.

“I’m excited about JC. He hasn’t played 15s since 2019 and his position in Sevens is different to 15s so it’s been a gradual process for him,” said Nkosi.

“But, I’m excited about what he’s brought to us and he did some good things (against the Pumas).”

The Lions’ next match is against the Griquas in Kimberley next Friday, at 3.30pm.

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