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

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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
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
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