Lions in a tight spot

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:45
Large lions training general Large johan ackermann points Large willie du plessis lions

The Lions will face a stern examination of their Super Rugby pedigree when they face the Sharks in Johannesburg on Friday.

The Lions will face a stern examination of their Super Rugby pedigree when they face the Sharks in Johannesburg on Friday.

And the biggest test will be in the scrums, where they will come up against the all-Springbok front row of Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, as well as Tendai Mtawarira.

Given his team's set-piece problems in their 19-12 pre-season win over the Southern Kings last week, coach Johan Ackermann admitted they will have to "work hard" ahead of facing a much more intimidating adversary.

While the Lions' starting front row - Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Wepener and Schalk van der Merwe - held their own against the Kings, it was once the back-up arrived on the field in the second half that things went pear-shaped for the Lions.

"I am concerned, as I expected more," Ackermann said of his front row depth.

"They are good players and what makes them good players is the fact that they are good ball carriers - Jacques [van Rooyen] when he played for us and Corne [Fourie] for the Pumas last year.

"It has to be remembered that Jacques van Rooyen played his first game for us at tighthead [prop].

"We are putting him on trial there. We do have some good loosehead props and want to see if he can have the same impact at tighthead for us.

"However, it does start in the scrums and we can't neglect the scrums - we will work hard on that aspect."

Ackermann said that Ruan Dreyer is still coming back from injury and is a very good tighthead that will help resolve the issue.

"I do expect the guys who come on to be of the same standard, so that is something we will pay attention to."

Kings stand-in coach Robbie Kempson, who played in 37 Tests for the Springboks from 1998 to 2003, admitted the Lions are in a similar pickle to what the Kings found themselves in last year.

"I can't speak for Ackers [Johan Ackermann], but he does know that he doesn't have dept in certain positions." Kempson said.

The former Bok prop felt that it is not a problem of the Lions mentor's making.

"He is in the same predicament the Kings were in last year," Kempson said, adding: "He can't get the top rugby players in the country, [because] he doesn't have a headline sponsor.

"I feel very sorry for him.

"He should be given the best opportunity to perform at a top level [and] he is not being given that opportunity, because certain [provincial] presidents decided not to vote for something that is not a rugby decision.

"I feel sorry for him in that respect, he doesn't have the strength in dept that the Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs and Bulls have.

"Unfortunately he is not going to get it this season.

"That is why he took off players earlier than he should have - he can't afford to have injury to his top players."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Waratahs v Force 19 | 13
Crusaders v Brumbies 17 | 13
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 17 | 83
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 0 0 1 1
Force 1 0 0 1 1
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 5
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 4
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0