Lions' roller-coaster ride continues

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:30
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The Golden Lions could not have wished for a more daunting start to their Currie Cup campaign, a Super-sized Free State Cheetahs team.

The Golden Lions could not have wished for a more daunting start to their Currie Cup campaign, a Super-sized Free State Cheetahs team.

The Cheetahs starting team for Saturday will feature 12 players that played in their last Super Rugby match, against the Brumbies in the preliminary play-offs.

However, it is not so much the quality of the Cheetahs' playing personnel, rather than their own emotional state that could trip up the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The players have been on an absolute high after the Lions regained their Super Rugby status with a two-point (44-42 on aggregate) win over the Southern Kings in the past fortnight.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann admitted that the biggest hurdle would be to ensure his team is emotionally up for the game.

"It will be a big challenge," Ackermann told this website ahead of the arrival of the Cheetahs at Ellis Park, adding that they addressed the issue this week.

"We gave the guys a mental break and they had two days off [Sunday and Monday]. We started training only on Tuesday.

"It will be a challenge, but the guys have to realise that job is done, the box has been ticked and we now face a new challenge [in he Currie Cup competition].

"We have to put that [regaining Super Rugby status] will have to be put and focus on the Currie Cup [competition].

"If you don't do well in the Currie Cup competition you could end up in another promotion-relegation game," he said of the fact that the last-placed Currie Cup team will face off against the winners of the First Division at the end of the season.

In the Currie Cup teams are up against tough opposition every week and even Griquas, as the only non-Super Rugby outfit, are a huge challenge.

"Last year we lost to Griquas twice," Ackermann told this website.

"It is a very intense competition and you are up against the best week after week.

"There also isn't much time to catch up of you fall behind [lose a few games], but we have to get off to a good start."

Ackermann said the two key challenges for him is to replace all the injured players and those who departed, as well as get the players focussed on the new challenge.

"We ticked the one box [gaining promotion to Super Rugby], but we now switch to the Currie Cup and ensure we do well there."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1