Lions suffer another hiccup
Johan Ackermann's Lions suffered a double injury blow in the wake of their first loss of the year.
The Lions suffered a double injury blow in the wake of their first loss of the year.
The 32-38 reversal against the Bulls last week, a result coach Johan Ackermann described as a 'hiccup', resulted in loose forward Willie Britz and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio being ruled out for several weeks.
Ackermann told this website that Britz, one of the star players in the three matches this year, suffered torn ankle ligaments and will be sidelined for at least four weeks.
Bondesio pulled a calf muscle against the Bulls and will be sidelined for two to three weeks.
Dylan des Fountain and Whestley Moolman have recovered from their respective injuries and are available to play against the Kings on Saturday.
Ackermann said the loss to the Bulls showed them how much they still have to work on.
"One of our goals was to be competitive in all the games and play attractive, entertaining rugby - to make our sponsors and supporters proud," the Lions mentor told this website.
"We had a bit of a hiccup, where we did not execute everything we wanted to and conceded points too easily.
"Now we want to get the campaign back on track and hopefully get a win [against the Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday].
"However, this is just another game in the current cycle. After this game, which brings to an end our first cluster of matches, we have a four-week break.
"We are determined to end this first cycle on a high note. If we can win this one, it will be three [wins] from four [starts], which is not bad for the first cycle."
The next cycle will see the Lions play the French outfit Mont de Marsan, a club currently last on the French Top 14 standings, before they set off on their two-match North American tour.
When they return they have a couple of weeks off again, before the next cycle starts.
That is the most crucial period in the build-up towards the season-ending promotion-relegation match against the bottom-placed South African Super Rugby outfit.
They take on French club Agen, currently 12th in the Top 14, the Samoan national team, the French Barbarians, Stormers and the Sharks.
After that there will be a short break, before they take on two more French clubs - Montpellier (European Cup quarterfinalists and currently fourth in the Top 14) and Grenoble (mid table in the Top 14).
That is followed by the promotion-relegation game.
Lions Challenge fixtures/results:
Lions 51 Russia 13
Lions 33 Cheetahs 17
Lions 33 Bulls 38
Lions v Kings - Saturday, February 9 - 14.15 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v Mont de Marsan - Saturday, March 16 - 19.30 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v North American All Stars - Saturday, April 13 - TBC - Irvine, California
Lions v North American All Stars - Saturday, April 20 - TBC - Vancouver
Lions v Agen - Saturday, May 11 - 15.00 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v Samoa - Saturday, June 1 - 15.00 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v French Barbarians - Saturday, June 8 - 14.00 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v Stormers - Saturday, June 15 - 14.00 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v Sharks - Friday, June 21 - 19.00 - Ellis Park Stadium
Lions v Montpellier - Friday, July 12 - 19.00 - Ellis Park
Lions v Grenoble - Saturday, July 20 - 14.15 - Ellis Park
Lions v TBC - Promotion/Relegation
By Jan de Koning