Lions pay dear price for victory

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 07:03
Large andries coetzee lions injur

Lions coach Johan Ackermann will be sweating over the fitness of two key players, following his team's 19-12 win over the Kings.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann's worst fears were realised, following injury to two key players in his team's 19-12 win over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.

With their final pre-season outing, before their return to Super Rugby in a fortnight, against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Friday, the last thing Ackermann needed was serious injuries.

However, both fullback Andries Coetzee and lock Rudi Matthee are set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

"The negative is the two injuries," Ackermann said in his post-match reaction, following the trip to Port Elizabeth that saw the men from Johannesburg made to battle for the win.

"Andries Coetzee suffered a knee ligament injury and he has gone for scans," the coach said, adding: "The fact that he can't put any weight on it means it could be serious."

It was confirmed that Coetzee suffered a medial cruciate ligament tear and will be out for approximately six weeks.

Rudi Matthee went for X-rays and it was confirmed he will be sidelined for eight weeks with an arm fracture.

The good news is that three players recovering from shoulder injuries - Springbok Elton Jantjies, wing Anthony Volmink and prop Ruan Dreyer - are all making good progress and are expected to return to action within three weeks.

Ackermann was happy that the Kings put his team under pressure and said they got some "valuable" match fitness from the outing.

"You won't get an error-free match," he said, adding: "Also the contact [we got out of the game] - eight of our players did not feature in last week's [first pre-season] outing.

"You could see [those] eight guys were a little rusty - you could see the tempo was [touch too] high for them."

Ackermann felt his team created plenty of opportunities, but lacked the finishing ability - something they will work on in the next two weeks ahead of their return to Super Rugby - against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 15.

"Stefan Watermeyer looked very impressive and Chrysander [Botha] made a clean break. I feel we created good opportunities, our scrum was good in the first half and at times we looked dangerous when we started moving the ball."

The Lions mentor said one of the other big negative - apart from the injuries - would be the breakdown, where the ball was simply not controlled enough and that put pressure on the scrumhalf.

"When we got line-breaks we did not finish them, with some 50-50 passes and other errors.

"Our line-outs were also not good for me. I feel both teams struggled with the line-outs.

"We did steal a few balls on their throw. However, what was most concerning was that we often slapped the ball back [and didn't control it] in the line-outs. We will have to work on our set pieces."

He praised his team for their commitment when under pressure.

"When the Kings broke our lines we scrambled well."

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26