Standing tall ... Lions’ Marvin Orie a leader in the Joburg pride
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JOHANNESBURG - There were times during the Golden Lions’ dramatic victory over Western Province last weekend when the men from Cape Town threatened to dominate proceedings.
But then one man would literally rise above them to halt their momentum and put paid to their plans. That man was lock Marvin Orie, who pilfered a handful of WP lineouts, stopping the Capetonians in their tracks, and ensured the Lions a piece of the possession pie at crucial moments.
Orie, along with Burger Odendaal, was one of the unsung heroes of the win at Emirates Airline Park, doing the hard yards, making the big tackles, and affecting a turnover every so often to keep his side in the game.
And although he admits that he had a slow start to the season, his performances have shown much impetus as he, together with his teammates, build towards apex form.
There is now a laser-like focus to his play, and he knows exactly what is required from him to improve and help his team to repeated triumph.
Said Orie: “The few months that we were off (due to Covid-19), it interrupted the rhythm a bit. I now feel, as a team, we are getting stronger every weekend.
“We have a strong pack of forwards and we've got really good hookers at the Lions as well, which helps a lot at the line-outs.
The basics will always be the most important – for a second rower the scrumming, and the line-outs, rucking, doing the dirty work around the park – those will always be important and if I can go from strength-to-strength in those departments, then I believe I will continue to get better.”
Orie, only 27 years old, might now be considered a senior citizen in a young Lions outfit, and as such has led by example, especially in the tackle department – he was, after all, the top tackler during Super Rugby Unlocked.
That is arguably the one department that his team has improved the most in recent weeks, defending the gainline staunchly and to a man.
Sure, they conceded a try to WP at the weekend, but it was one executed through the brilliance of Seabelo Senatla.
For the rest of the encounter, WP were locked out.
“Our defence leaked a few tries at the beginning of the season,” said Orie of the Lions’ initial defensive woes.
“More often than not, I believe, defence is sort of like scrummaging – technical things are very important, the system is important, but the desire and the attitude has to be there from the beginning and I think that is where we lacked a bit in those first few games.
“These last couple of weeks, the desire and attitude has been much better from the guys. It makes it a lot easier to fix the line and the technical issues when the guys are working to look out after each other.”
On Saturday (kick-off 4.30pm), the Lions will be involved in another ding-dong battle that could define their Currie Cup top four ambitions. They face a desperate Free State Cheetahs side with a point to prove and who are currently three points behind the Joburgers on 17 points (fifth in the standings).
And Orie is expecting another tough encounter, not just up front but all over the park.
“Probably the way they play is very similar to us – they give the ball quite a lot of air, they’ve got a nice back three,” said Orie.
“Their forwards are quite good. They’ve got a good scrum, while in the line-out they are contesting ... We are going to have to be at our best to get a positive result in Bloemfontein.”