Lions: 'Freedom within a framework'

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 15:23
Large johan ackermann looking ang Large franco van der merwe lions Large swys de bruin   johan acker Large marnitz boshoff lions warm Large johan ackermann lions point

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann does not want to put the shackles on his free-running team, but he may rein them in just a little.

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann does not want to put the shackles on his free-running team, but he may rein them in just a little.

Ackermann, speaking ahead of his team's trans-Jukskei Currie Cup derby with the Blue Bulls on Saturday, admitted that the need to start winning is becoming more desperate with every passing week.

But the desire to turn their winless Currie Cup campaign around does not mean they will forgo their desire to play an expansive game.

"Hopefully the wheel will turn and then we'll be on the right side of the results," the Lions mentor told this website, when asked about the defeats in the first couple of weeks - 25-33 to the Sharks in Durban and 29-30 to the Free State Cheetahs in Johannesburg.

Now the bottom-placed Lions head 50-odd kilometres up the N1 to Pretoria to face the tournament's pace-setters.

"We will have to play better rugby and start winning if we want to stay in contact with the rest of the teams [in the competition]," Ackermann added.

It is certainly not getting any easier and the fact that there are no easy games in the competition is piling on the pressure.

"The fact that we are playing away from home again, [against the Blue Bulls] at Loftus [Versfeld] doesn't make it any easier," the Lions mentor said, adding: "However, as I have said from the outset, if you want to be in the semifinals, you have to be able to beat any team anywhere.

 

"We will just have to go out there and play better rugby than we have done the last two weeks."

Ackermann put his team's defeats down to "decision-making on the field" by certain individuals - when the ball is lost in contact or a player attempted a move that wasn't on.

"We do want to give the guys the freedom, but that judgment and decision making will, hopefully, improve as the weeks go by," he told this website.

"We also missed one-on-one tackles at critical stages, which let the opposition in for tries.

"If we can sharpen up the defence and improve the on-field decision making by the players it should go much better.

"As I said, we want to give the players that freedom [to play], but within the framework of making the right calls at the right time.

"The players must first back the structures, before they do their own thing - that balance we have to get right."

The Lions have been buoyed by the inclusion of Springbok Franco van Merwe, who was not required for the team's trip to Argentina this week, as well as the inclusion of veteran hooker Willie Wepener, who recently returned to Ellis Park after a lengthy stint at Loftus.

However, the change that raised most eyebrows this week was Ackermann's decision to name Marnitz Boshoff, another former Bull, ahead of Springbok Elton Jantjies at flyhalf.

By Jan de Koning

Brumbies vs Reds
sast: 11h40 | local: 19h40

  • |
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Lions v Sharks 15h10 Johannesburg
Kings v Highlanders 17h15 Port Elizabeth
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
Thu, 07 July 2016
Griquas v Pumas 17h00 Kimberley
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Griquas 11 9 0 2 46
Western Province 10 9 0 1 42
Pumas 11 8 0 3 41
Boland 10 8 0 2 40
Golden Lions 10 5 1 4 31
Griffons 10 6 0 4 30
Free State Cheetahs 10 5 0 5 30
Blue Bulls 11 5 0 6 27
Eagles 10 5 0 5 26
Leopards 10 4 0 6 24
Border 10 4 0 6 20
Falcons 10 3 0 9 19
Sharks 10 3 0 7 18
EP Kings 10 2 1 7 12
Namibia 10 0 0 10 1