URC – The Emirates Lions’ Composure To Deal With Lenghty Thunder Delay The Difference Between Winning Or Losing


The Emirates Lions showed their mettle in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on Saturday with an important 40-20 home victory over the Hollywoodbets Sharks, which bolstered their playoff hopes with seven league rounds remaining.

Although the Emirates Lions stay 11th on the URC log after the bonus point win, they trail the eighth-placed Benetton by only three points.

Speaking to the media captain Marius Louw and coach Ivan Van Rooyen post-match both captain and coach praised the team's composure to deal with the lenghty thunder delay following an impressive first half leading 19-10 at the halftime break.

“To be honest, we left the guys all to themselves for at least 20 minutes. We knew the chances of going back onto the field in the usual window were very slim,” head coach Van Rooyen said.

“We were about to start with our normal protocol before we heard the news of the delay, and we then said to each other we’re probably going to have to sit here for a while."

“So, I told them to relax, refuel and rehydrate. After that period, we debriefed on the first half, prepared for the warm-up, and were ready to play. After what we have spoken about over the past two weeks, seeing the guys reaction to that situation was really pleasant.”

"Conditions were really tough at the restart and we were fortunate to get through to the other side," captain Marius Louw said.

“Coming out (after the lengthy break) I could feel my boots sink into the ground more. It was very wet and the ball was spinning out. So we spoke about focusing on our set piece and that was actually what got us onto the front foot."

“It was a little bit of a checkers game in the beginning. You try and look for the space. They were giving us a bit of running room because they were trying to cover the space at the back. The Hollywoodbets Sharks were trying to change their pictures as well.

“So we were just making sure to read the situation as it is and to adapt to that and it came off for us in the end.”