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
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10