- Stormers Siya Kolisi hailed the determination of his teammates in inspiring him to score what was arguably the decisive try in their meeting with the Lions at Loftus.
- The national skipper admitted that he thought of ending the first half swiftly before a cheeky Herschel Jantjies made him change his mind.
- Coach John Dobson felt his charges were perhaps lucky to hold on as the challenge of altitude began to bite. but expressed how proud he was.
Sometimes, even the strongest leader needs to be spurred on by his deputies to carry on.
That was certainly the case with Siya Kolisi and his Stormers in Saturday's Super Fan event meeting with the Lions at Loftus, where the enthusiasm of his teammates led to his try on the half-time hooter that gave the Capetonians a sufficient buffer to see off their fast-finishing opponents.
Fatigue from months of not being exposed to altitude training weighed heavily on the Stormers' minds before the match and, following a sterling forward-driven effort in the first half that overwhelmed the outgunned Lions, Kolisi was content to swiftly end proceedings at the end of the first 40.
"I almost kicked it out," the national skipper admitted in the aftermath of a 34-21 victory.
"But I had (Bok halfback) Herschel (Jantjies) shouting at me: 'Is jy mal?' (Are you crazy?)."
The Stormers then proceeded to deliver a three-minute period of sumptuous attacking play, belying how their lungs were actually burning from the thin Highveld air.
It culminated in Kolisi's powerful run on the right touchline, where he hammered Lions scrumhalf Andre Warner with a disdainful hand-off to cross the whitewash.
The 29-year-old opensider could barely get up afterwards.
He was exhausted.
"To be honest, there was absolutely nothing going on in my mind at the time. I was on my haunches when the ball came back to me. I just summoned a reaction, just got energy from somewhere and went (for the tryline)," said Kolisi.
"I just knew something had to be done after all the work we put in during that passage of play. I went as hard as I could."
As much as it was Kolisi that gained the plaudits for his initiative, he noted the effort was absolutely down to the Stormers' steely desire to keep going and play for each other.
"I was encouraged by the whole sequence. We could've just kicked out but the boys really wanted to play, even against a Lions side at altitude that normally take over and dominate at the end of halves," he said.
"We just kept going."
John Dobson, the Stormers' head coach, was also pleased with the character shown by his charges despite a late try for replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet inflating an advantage that seemed tenuous for a long time during the second half.
"The Lions were good, they placed us under a lot of pressure later on with that new team they brought on while we were tiring," he said.
"We didn't bring up 30 players because we wanted a few to play the full 80 minutes and the Lions very nearly caught us. I thought we were quite lucky to hold on but we showed a reasonable amount of character.
"To get through 80 minutes at altitude after a wet Cape winter and get a result makes me proud of Siya and the team."