Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Marius Louw settling in at Lions, with man-of-the-match showing

Two of the Lions tries came from the rolling maul, with coach Ivan van Rooyen admitting that was an aspect of the game they had targeted.


New Lions centre Marius Louw is settling in well in the team, and showed his worth by putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the Lions 31-18 bonus point win over Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Friday night.

Louw started off with an underwhelming performance in the Lions first game against the Bulls, but responded well with a solid showing against Ospreys and then produced an all action performance on attack and defence to deservedly pick up the award in Cardiff.

Despite his impressive effort, Louw placed all the credit on the Lions forward pack, who made three of their four tries on the night, while he also praised their brilliant first half defensive effort that kept a dominant Cardiff out for most of it.

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“I don’t think I can take any credit. I think that our forwards did all the hard work up front and I think that’s what they showed today, so I have to give all the credit to them. I also think our first half defensive effort was a big turning point for us,” said Louw.

“That’s what we prepped for this whole week. We knew we were going to need to produce a 40 minute defensive effort. Whether it was in the first half or second depending on when we were playing against the wind and I think that’s what made the boys believe in the second half.”

Rolling maul

Two of the Lions tries on the night came from the rolling maul, with coach Ivan van Rooyen admitting that was an aspect of the game they had targeted.

“It was one of the areas that we identified that we could get some good purchase from. Cardiff chose a really big and tall pack, so we felt it was going to be an arm wrestle and if we could find a crack there we felt we could get the upper hand and fortunately we did,” said van Rooyen.

Looking ahead to their final game on tour against Edinburgh next week the Lions could be without star wing Edwill van der Merwe after he suffered a heavy head nock in the first half of the match, but that was the only player of concern for the team.

“I am waiting to get final feedback from the Doctor. It looked like a knock to the head, so we are waiting for final clarity there before we can make a decision on how serious it is,” explained Van Rooyen.

“There aren’t any other injury concerns that we are aware of. Obviously we have some nice, tired and sore bodies, but we have a recovery day tomorrow (Saturday) which we are really going to push hard in terms of recovery.

“We are playing next Friday again, so there should be enough time to recover. We won’t have as much training time, but with it being week three on tour I think we are fine there.”

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