Lightning-fast: Madosh Tambwe about to score his third try for the Lions against the Stormers. Tambwe added a fourth try in the second half. Picture: GORDON ARONS/GALLO IMAGES
Lightning-fast: Madosh Tambwe about to score his third try for the Lions against the Stormers. Tambwe added a fourth try in the second half. Picture: GORDON ARONS/GALLO IMAGES

Coach Swys de Bruin scoffed at suggestions that the Lions had become a Jekyll and Hyde side this season.

The Lions had lost three of their past four matches before thumping the Stormers 52-31 in their Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.

De Bruin was quick to remind that his team had been an attacking force all season.

"They’ve been there. We’ve now scored 43 tries this season. We are averaging more than five a game‚" said the coach.

The turnaround, he suggested‚ was due to the increased influence of defence coach Joey Mongalo. "I want to compliment our defence coach for the step-up he has made. The defence was unreal. I think he has a great future. Hats off to him."

He described the performance as complete, but said: "I don’t want to get carried away. This is a long competition."

After their bye this week his team faces a searching examination in their tour matches against the Waratahs‚ Reds‚ Hurricanes and the Highlanders.

"We are looking forward to the tour. The players are naughty, but in a good way. We enjoy touring‚" said De Bruin.

The Lions‚ he hopes‚ will be bolstered by the return of several injured players during the tour. Flank Cyle Brink was the latest casualty but he was removed from the action against the Stormers with only a pinched nerve.

"Taking him off was just a precaution but Marnus [Schoeman] did so well when he came on because he was a real irritation for them."

Another to cause the Stormers pain was wing Madosh Tambwe, who scored three tries in 13 minutes and a fourth in the second half.

Adding to the rout was Lionel Mapoe, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert and Ruan Combrinck, who all crossed the whitewash.

"We will make a call with the medics on Monday. Hopefully Ross [Cronjé] will be back as well as Warren [Whiteley]. Even Aphiwe [Dyantyi] and Trokkie [Rohan Janse van Rensburg] may be back. You never know with these injuries."

The Lions have a bye this week before travelling to Sydney next Tuesday.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck named his team’s defence and breakdown as areas that need urgent intervention before they tackle the next phase of the competition. His side was well off the pace in losing to the Lions, but can regroup and recoup with a bye this week after eight straight games.

With his team leaking tries in recent weeks‚ Fleck said it was too early to tell whether having defence coaching duties split between two coaches was working. "Defensively, we have to be better‚" he said. "You can’t be leaking eight tries. Some soft tries too. That is definitely something we have to work on.

"The breakdown needs to be better too. At the breakdown I thought the Lions were outstanding. That’s where they slowed our ball down. When we retained possession we looked a decent side. We were also beaten at the breakdown by the Bulls. That is something that we have to work on."

Fleck acknowledged they were beaten "by a better team on the day" but said his players "kept on fighting", especially through the efforts of utility forward Pieter-Steph du Toit.

"We created opportunities but obviously we didn’t convert. We were well beaten by a better team‚" he said.

Fleck said after his team’s jaded performance against the Bulls a week ago that the workload of playing seven consecutive matches may have caught up with his team.

"The Lions also had seven or eight games in a row‚" he said.

"We are looking forward to the break. That is the first half of the comp gone for us. We have to reset our goals obviously.

"We have an away game against the Sharks before we have some home games."

The Stormers trail the Lions‚ the conference and overall log leaders by 12 points, but Fleck was sanguine about their prospects of catching up.

"They have a tough tour ahead of them‚" Fleck said.

"The way they played in this game, they can look forward to that tour.

"By no means are we out of it. We’ve got eight games to go," he said.

TimesLIVE