Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


‘Lions have grown immensely in last year,’ says Ivan van Rooyen

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has been impressed with the team execution in their wins over Ospreys and Cardiff.


The Lions will need to be at their very best and convert any chances that come their way when they take on Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship (URC) in Scotland on Friday night.

The Lions are riding high after starting their first European tour of the season in style with wins over Ospreys and Cardiff in Wales and have arrived in Scotland full of confidence ahead of their final match before heading back home.

However, they are coming up against a completely different beast in Edinburgh, who will be smarting after a difficult tour to South Africa saw them lose both their games against the Bulls and Stormers.

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Being back on their home turf, Edinburgh, who are one of the top teams in the competition, will be eager to bounce back from those losses with a big win against the Lions.

The visitors will thus need to nail their chances when they come on Friday if they want to stand any chance of upsetting the hosts.

Solid execution

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has been impressed with his team’s execution in their wins over Ospreys and Cardiff and believes they are much better than they were last season.

“It’s a combination of confidence and the work we did in pre-season. I think our execution and decision making under pressure has really grown immensely compared to this time last year,” explained Van Rooyen.

“So the decision makers on the field are making good decisions and backing them up, which is good to see.”

Against Cardiff over the past weekend, after a difficult first half that saw them on the back foot for most of it, the Lions took a chance by kicking a penalty on the halftime hooter to the corner and were rewarded with a penalty try which was a massive momentum turner in the match.

“I was very happy with the team’s execution in the match. When they went to the corner on the hooter and managed to execute and come away with points, that was really big for us,” admitted Van Rooyen.

“There is still a lot of territorial and kicking stuff that we need to work on. But there has been a lot of growth in execution and growth under pressure which is nice to see.”

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