Lions coach Johan Ackermann said he was not surprised how strong the Stormers finished last weekend at Ellis Park despite the feared altitude factor.
The Lions won the thrilling Super Rugby game 29-22 and have now shifted their focus to the Kings clash in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
But in retrospect, Ackermann said they had to defend really well in the final minutes to keep the Stormers out last weekend.
But Ackermann also believed it was the intimate knowledge of Lions rugby that Stormers forward coach Russell Winter has, being a coach of the Lions Vodacom Cup who often trained with the Super Rugby side for most of last year.
“I’m not surprised the Stormers ended so strongly despite the altitude, they had Russell Winter there,” said Ackermann.
“The one question they did ask him was how the Lions trained and he told them what we are doing (upping the pace in the final 20 minutes at altitude) so obviously they’ve changed their way of training for this game,” he said.
“I also think the local sides over the years have adapted well to the altitude, it’s maybe only the overseas teams still struggling being so high above sea level.”
Ackermann also said old hands in the Stormers side aided the Capetonians.
“But despite being a young team on paper there’s a lot of experience in that Stormers side to pull them through, obviously some things went for us last weekend and we are just happy for the win.
“When you look at the bench they had, we expected a fight till the end, guys like prop Frans Malherbe and centre Damian de Allende there,” he said.
“Flank Rynhardt Elstadt I rate highly as a player, prop Oli Kebble has come through nicely, while flank Kolisi was on the bench, so they had about three Springboks on the bench so we knew it was not going to be easy.”