More than a win for Lions

Sun, 16 Feb 2014 09:49
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Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows that his young team's victory over the Cheetahs was worth more than just the four log points.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows that his young team's gritty victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein was worth more than just the four log points.

The Johannesburg side made an ideal return to Super Rugby, with a late drop-goal from flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff giving them a dramatic 21-20 victory over the home side.

Travelling with six debutantes in their starting line up and 11 in total in the match day 23, few backed the visitors for an upset.

But Ackermann's charges stuck together and showed that an absence of Super Rugby caps did not necessarily doom a side against an experienced outfit like the Cheetahs.

Although the hosts scored the only tries of the game, it was a high penalty count and the kicking boot of Boshoff that eventually sank the Cheetahs. Boshoff kicked six penalties along with the match-winning drop goal to make sure his side was in second place in the South African conference.

Ackermann said that the win will give them valuable confidence and momentum as they look to build on this start.

“I really don't know what to say. I am at a loss for words. I am just so proud of the guys that stuck in there to give us the victory. This is a huge boost for us confidence wise and we will take much momentum from this for our next game against the Stormers next weekend,” Ackermann said.

It wasn't a series winning performance, with the Lions having much trouble in the scrums. The visitors got pinned regularly by referee Craig Joubert, but after half time it seemed their understanding of the referee's interpretation at scrum-time was much better.

The Lions turned over much possession, another positive they would build on for next weekend.

“We struggled in the scrums, but as soon as we understood what Craig wanted, it went a whole lot better. We also turned over some good possession. We are lucky that we have guys like Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie who all play to the ball. That makes the world of difference,” said Ackermann.

Lions captain Whiteley in turn lauded Boshoff for his kicking performance, adding that the last minute drop-goal was one that the Johannesburg based side practised.

“All credit must go to Marnitz. He dropped back and slotted the drop-goal. It was something we worked on during the week and we even got it wrong a couple of times. Luckily it worked when it was needed,” Whiteley said.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19