Lions' roller-coaster ride continues

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:30
Large prinsloo   minnie currie cu Large derick minnie lions Large currie cup trophy

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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 22 September 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 15h30 Bloemfontein
Cheetahs v Leinster 18h00 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Dragons 18h35 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Munster 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Gloucester v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Kingsholm
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Sat, 23 September 2017
Sharks v Blue Bulls 13h00 Durban
Bath v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Recreation Ground
Saracens v Sale Sharks 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 14h15 Sportsground
Western Province v Griquas 15h15 Newlands
Kings v Zebre 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 9 8 0 1 39
Free State Cheetahs 8 5 0 3 25
Golden Lions 9 4 0 5 25
Western Province 8 4 0 4 22
Pumas 9 4 0 5 22
Blue Bulls 8 3 0 5 20
Griquas 9 2 0 7 16