Lions hooked on success

Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:18
Large callie visagie bulls Large martin bezuidenhout stormer Large callievisagelions2 Large martin bezuidenhout lions

The Lions may not have the services of hooker Callie Visagie for their two-match series with the Kings, but coach Johan Ackermann is not perturbed.

The Lions may not have the services of hooker Callie Visagie for the first round of their two-match series with the Southern Kings, but coach Johan Ackermann is not perturbed.

Visagie has remained with the Bulls ahead of their Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Brumbies in Pretoria on Saturday.

The blow, as result of Visagie's absence, has been soften considerably by the return of Martin Bezuidenhout from the Stormers - as well as the great form of young stay-at-home hookers Robbie Coetzee and Francois du Toit.

Ackermann, speaking to this website ahead of the first of the two promotion-relegation matches in Port Elizabeth on Friday, said Visagie will be involved with the Bulls this week and possibly next week it the men from Pretoria advance to the Super Rugby Final.

That means the Lions have only three of their loan players returning for their own play-off series - in PE this week (July 26) and Johannesburg next Saturday (August 3).

Franco van der Merwe (back from the Sharks), Elton Jantjies and Martin Bezuidenhout (both from the Stormers) have been training with the Lions since last Monday.

"The agreement between the CEO's was that if a team reaches the play-offs, the loan players stay on," Ackermann said about Visagie's extended stay in Pretoria.

"We've been told he will be involved in the semifinal [between the Bulls and the Brumbies] at the weekend."

However, the Lions mentor is happy with the quality of the stock he has in his squad.

"I think Bez [Bezuidenhout] brings lots of experience back [from the Stormers] and it should soften the blow," the coach said, adding: "Obviously Callie [Visagie] had a great season with us last year.

"It is a tough one - Swys [Francois du Toit] and Robbie [Coetzee] both played very good rugby and now we have Bez back.

"It would be difficult to say how much of a setback [his absence is] or impact Callie [Visagie] would have made.

"I am just thankful that we have three very good hookers to choose from."

Meanwhile Ackermann confirmed that ace scrumhalf Michael Bondesio took a blow to the knee as is a doubtful starter.

"We are waiting to see if he will be fit," the coach said, adding that all the other players are ready to go.

Previously injured players like Jaco Kriel, Derrick Minnie, Warren Whiteley and Alwyn Hollenbach have all recovered.

By Jan de Koning

Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls
sast: 16h00 | local: 16h00

  • |
Sat, 22 October 2016
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 37 | 10
Fri, 21 October 2016
Sale Sharks v Toulon 5 | 15
Sun, 16 October 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Clermont Auvergne 8 | 35
Bordeaux v Ulster 28 | 13
Sat, 15 October 2016
Scarlets v Sale Sharks 28 | 11
Connacht v Toulouse 23 | 21
Northampton Saints v Montpellier 16 | 14
Blue Bulls v Western Province 36 | 30
Toulon v Saracens 23 | 31
Leinster v Castres 33 | 15
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 55 | 17
Wasps v Zebre 82 | 14
Fri, 14 October 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Leicester Tigers 42 | 13
Sun, 09 October 2016
Saracens v Wasps 30 | 14
Sat, 08 October 2016
Scarlets v Dragons 31 | 27
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9