Lions in at Shark Tank's deep end

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 07:22
Large johan ackermann   franco va Large johan ackermann whistle Large warren whiteley   johan ack

The Lions may already have claimed the scalps of the Cheetahs and Stormers, but the Sharks in Durban is an entirely different challenge.

The Lions may already have claimed the scalps of the Cheetahs and Stormers, but the Sharks in Durban is an entirely different challenge.

Back in Super Rugby after a year on the sidelines, the men from Johannesburg celebrated with a one-point win over the Cheetahs and a 24-point demolition of the Stormers.

Then came the first reality check, an eight-point loss to the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

It is not going to get any easier for Johan Ackermann and his charges, when they head to Kings Park on Saturday for a meeting with the star-studded and unbeaten Sharks.

"It is going to be a huge challenge for us," Ackermann told this website, when asked about the encounter with the South African conference leaders - who had a bye last week, after toppling the Bulls and Hurricanes in the opening rounds.

"The game is in Durban, against a team in form," he said, adding: "They are loaded with Springboks from front to back [11 in the starting XV].

"It certainly won't be easy, but we have to be up for it.

"The week thereafter we play against the Blues, then the Reds, who have a host of Wallabies, and the week after that the Crusaders, with a bunch of All Blacks.

"The players must swim in the deep end.

"The guys who are only in their third or fourth Super Rugby game must use this opportunity.

"From a coaching point of view we will prepare them as best we can, but on the day they [the players] must handle the pressure and perform."

Ackermann said he believes they have the ability.

"They [the players] must just believe in themselves, go out on the day and do the job.

"Challenges don't come much bigger than this - on Saturday we face a very good Sharks team on their home ground."

The Lions mentor doesn't believe last week's loss to the Bulls would have done too much damage in the top six inches.

"I believe they are [mentally tough enough]," he said, adding: "We will stay true to our processes.

"Our goal from the outset was that we would not allow victories or defeats influence us.

"We are not, just because we lost, start hitting the panic button by starting to train more or do different things.

"We will stick to our processes..

"These young guys will get up and play. Here and there a player may come in or drop out, but our weekly build-up will be exactly the same."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9