'Must win' Lions to entertain

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:49
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The Lions need just one point to book their place in the Currie Cup play-offs, but coach Johan Ackermann has placed them in 'must win' mode.

The Golden Lions need just one point to book their place in the Currie Cup play-offs, but coach Johan Ackermann has placed them in 'must win' mode.

With a Griquas team, sans half their frontline players, arriving at Ellis Park for their final league match of the season, the Lions are fancied to bag a full-house five points.

But Ackermann is not taking anything for granted and wants his team to play as if they are up against the table-topping Western Province, Sharks Free State Cheetahs or Blue Bulls.

In fact, so determined is he to "get the win" that a four-try bonus point is not a priority.

"We don't want to chase the bonus point and open the game up to such an extend that we end up losing," Ackermann told this website, when discussing his team's approach to Saturday's showdown in Johannesburg.

"We need just one point, but we want the win to secure our spot," he added.

While the Lions have been employing an expansive game all season, their 'must win' approach may mean they will be a touch more conservative, although they are not going to abandon their entertaining style altogether.

"We will continue to play an attractive brand and [produce] exciting rugby," the Lions mentor said, adding: "What we will do, in contrast to last week [against Western Province] when we chased the game and kicked for the corners, we will take the points [kicks at goal] when they present themselves.

"It will depend on what the score is and which teams has the momentum.

"Those are factors that could influence those on-field decisions [whether to kick for goal or go for tries]."

Ackermann said they don't want to restrict the players too much, by saying they must only kick.

"If it is on, they must play with the ball in hand and produce an exciting game if the situation allows it."

By Jan de Koning

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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26