Lions carry no grudges

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 12:26
Johan-ackermann630 Johan-ackermann-points-630
I know for the supporters it is about proving a point

The Lions' fans may be baying for the Kings' blood, but the management of the Johannesburg-based franchise are not as bitter and sanguinary.

Since the Kings were confirmed as the fifth South African franchise for the 2013 season, at the expense of the Lions, an unhealthy amount of malevolence have been directed at their Port Elizabeth-based rivals.

Most level-minded people understand that the South African Rugby Union, and not the Kings, are to blame for the malapropos manner in which the Lions were stripped of their Super Rugby status.

However, a large assemblage of the country's population would like to see the Lions "prove a point" by smashing the Kings to smithereens.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann has taken a very different approach and said they are not looking at their encounter with the Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday as a 'grudge match' or an opportunity to send a message to SARU.

"We are in a very different phase of our build-up [towards our main goal]," Ackermann told this website, when asked about his team's approach to the encounter.

"We are still busy trialling players and combinations - we are still considering playing some players in different positions."

He felt that the Kings were also in a different phase, and probably behind the eight-ball in terms of contact and fitness in the build-up to their Super Rugby debut.

"We can't do anything about having been kicked out, we are not playing Super Rugby," Ackermann told this website.

"I know for the supporters it is about proving a point.

"However, for me it is about achieving our own goals and what we want to get out of this game."

The Lions mentor said it is not in his nature to carry grudges.

"We have a job to do, whether we play against SWD or the Crusaders, it is just another game and we want to perform to the best of our ability."

By Jan de Koning