Whiteley: It was like a Test match

    2017-04-03 10:48

    Johannesburg - It was undoubtedly the game of the weekend, and the Lions' 34-29 win over the Sharks on Saturday has set the standard for high-profile South African derbies for the rest of the season. 

    A late Jaco Kriel try secured the points for the hosts, but it was a match that was electric from start to finish, thanks largely to the vocal Ellis Park crowd. 

    There were little battles all over the park - Curwin Bosch v Elton Jantjies, Cobus Reinach v Faf de Klerk - but in the end it was the hosts who would leave with the bragging rights. 

    Lions skipper Warren Whiteley, speaking after the clash, spoke about the intensity of the match. 

    "We spoke about it afterwards and it was very much like a Test match sort of game, tactically," said Whiteley. 

    "Both teams were trying to win that kicking contest to get territory and once both teams were in the opposition half then that's when they would launch their attacks.

    "We knew that's what the Sharks would look to do. We probably played a bit wide too quickly in the beginning and weren't as direct as we wanted to be.

    "It was a hell of a game ... thoroughly enjoyable."

    The Lions were 13-3 down at one stage, and Whiteley praised his side's composure to come back.

    "That's where experience comes in. We managed to stay calm in that situation and that to me is really pleasing ... to see the senior players step up. We slowly started building towards 80 minutes," he said.

    "It wasn't pretty, we weren't at our best, but really proud of the boys to get the victory."

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