Swys explains decision to back rookie Lombard

    2019-03-18 07:46
    Gianni Lombard is congratulated by Madosh Tambwe (
    Gianni Lombard is congratulated by Madosh Tambwe (Gallo)

    Cape Town - Lions coach Swys de Bruin has explained his decision to back replacement flyhalf Gianni Lombard near the end of Saturday's Rebels clash.

    The Lions, 33-5 down at one stage, fought back to secure a famous 36-33 victory over their Australian visitors. 

    READ: Lions boss Swys 'lost it' at half time

    The match-winning moment came after the hooter when the Lions won a scrum penalty. 

    The 21-year-old Lombard, who had come on for Lions stalwart Elton Jantjies, stood up and slotted the kick from a tough angle to the right up the uprights to secure the win and announce himself on the Super Rugby stage.

    "Those bunch of youngsters had to dig deep. When I pulled Elton Jantjies, I knew it could come down to a pressure kick," De Bruin said of the decision to back Lombard at the business end of the match.

    "(Backline coach) Neil de Bruin sat next to me and he said he backed Gianni to step up and slot one if it came to that.

    "Stars are made for big moments and to slot that kick there, maybe Gianni is a future star."

    De Bruin also praised the work of some of his more seasoned replacements, with Andries Coetzee and Lionel Mapoe making particularly strong statements off the bench.

    "I keep harping on about the youngsters, then the old dogs came out and basically won the game for us," he said.

    "Lionel Mapoe and Andries Coetzee were phenomenal and even Ruan Vermaak. Every single guy that came on contributed.

    "It’s not often your substitutions work exactly the way you want them to. Our guys showed lots of character and the leadership from Malcolm Marx was impeccable."

    The Lions now travel to Tokyo for a clash against the Sunwolves on Saturday. 

    Kick-off is at 12:55 (SA time). 

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