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

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10