Leinster defeat showed the Lions how to win

Flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse has identified a hard-fought defeat at Leinster last month as a flashpoint for the Lions’ turnaround in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

The Lions beat the Ospreys 45-15 on Friday to make it three wins in as many URC games for Ivan van Rooyen’s men but, pPrior to their recent strong form, the Joburgers had lost five games in a row – their last a 21-13 loss to top-ranked Leinster in Dublin.

Speaking ahead of the Lions’ battle against Edinburgh at Ellis Park on Saturday, Hendrikse said: “We knew we still had the potential as a team. We just needed this Leinster game.

“It was a game that really tested us and where we learned a lot – from the way they play, how they manage their tempo and their clinical nature. For us to go to Leinster and only lose 21 -13 gave us confidence regardless of the outcome.

“It gave us confidence to come back to South Africa and say, ‘Listen here, this game we played was tough, but we just didn’t finish our opportunities.’

“It gave us confidence in training and it was only a matter of time for us to get a W behind our names. With confidence, the players begin to express themselves. That’s key, especially if you’ve been through a rough patch to earn that victory. This affects your training in terms of consistency, clinical and standards.

“It helps to clarify what we need to do during the week so that we are ready on Saturday. To take the confidence out of that game against Leinster was our turnaround.

Charles P. Patton