Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx produced another outstanding performance in the Lions’ 40-23 Super Rugby quarterfinal win over the Jaguares on Saturday.
Marx won a number of turnovers at the breakdown at crucial stages and he also made a huge impact again with his powerful carries and big hits on defence.
However, Lions captain Warren Whiteley believes it is unfair to only focus on Marx’s performance.
“I think collectively it was a massive effort,” Whiteley told reporters after the match.
“You also got to look at the guy who makes the tackle, because that is the guy who is allowing Malcolm to steal the ball and often that is the guy who doesn’t get any credit.
“We made some good leg tackles and that allows the ball stealer to get in. I mean a guy like Malcolm, jeepers – you don’t move him from there and I think Kwagga [Smith] got one or two as well and I thought Marnus [Schoeman] was excellent when he came onto the field. I think it was a really good performance.
“There were stages where they kept the ball for long periods of time and they carried a lot. I am not sure what the tackles stats were, but I think there were times when we defended for quite some time.
“I thought we had good patience on defence. I think there was probably about 15 minutes or so at the start of the second half when I felt we were flat, but we got back into it and managed to put some good pressure back onto them.”
The Lions’ reward for beating the Jaguares is a semifinal showdown against the Waratahs at Ellis Park.
The Waratahs recorded a 30-23 come-from-behind win over the Highlanders in their quarterfinal and Whiteley is expecting a big tactical shift from the Jaguares.
“I think tactically they [Waratahs] play a smart game. They will probably kick a lot more.
“Here at Ellis Park they will try and put our outside backs under pressure on the high ball with Israel Folau.
“They will probably try and slow the game down as well, but when they do get front-foot ball they are extremely dangerous. They got some good ball carriers and they like to play quite direct and give Kurtley Beale flat ball to attack from and when he does get flat ball he is dangerous.
“If you can dominate at the set-piece and starve them of the ball then you don’t’ give them those opportunities,” Whiteley added.