Lions coach Van Rooyen heaps praise on match-winner Sanele Nohamba
Though he gave credit to the entire team in their 29-25 United Rugby Championship (URC) win over the Bulls on Saturday at Loftus, Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen made special mention of Sanele Nohamba.
The scrumhalf was the difference maker on the day with a solid return of 24 points from a try, five penalties and two conversions as the Lions registered their first win in Pretoria since 2017.
The result meant the Lions refreshed their faint hopes of qualifying for the play-offs.
“Players like that, you need them when you have your backs against the wall to show special moments and I thought Sanele was special today [Saturday] in that sense.
“If am really honest about it, you have to play to be consistent and to up your game. I don’t think anyone ever doubted his ability given that whether he is coming from the bench or starting, everyone can see the consistency in his performances.
“There are things to work on and he is well aware of that. We are putting a lot of emphasis on playmakers to make decisions.
Van Rooyen said the win was a huge result for the battling Lions and may prove a turning point in their season.
“I was speaking to someone and I think our last win here [at Loftus] was in 2017, so it is a big moment for us. I am immensely proud of the work rate and fight.
“Where we have grown the most over the past two weeks is with regards to intensity and intent in training. I am just happy for the guys to display it on the field.”
With the Currie Cup fast approaching, Van Rooyen said the Gauteng side will give opportunities to players who did not get enough minutes in the URC.
“Some of the guys will play against Western Province, some of the others will play the weekend after against the Pumas [both in the Currie Cup] and then we fly to Benetton [in the URC]. For these two weeks, the guys who are short on game time in positions where we feel we have don't enough depth should get a crack.