Lions desire some Kiwi meat

Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:46
Large warren whiteley   johan2 ac

The Lions, having had their fill of prime South African beef, are keen to taste something different in their return to Super Rugby.

The Lions, having had their fill of prime South African beef, are keen to taste something different in their return to Super Rugby.

Having started their season with encounters against the Cheetahs, Stormers (both wins), Bulls and Sharks (both losses), the Lions play in their first cross-conference game when they host the Blues at Ellis Park on Saturday.

And coach Johan Ackermann said there is great excitement in the young squad - many of whom have never played againmst any side from New Zealand.

Despite a disappointing 23-37 loss to the Sharks last week, the Lions players believe they can be competitive against teams from outside South Africa and Saturday presents their first opportunity to prove this theory.

Ackermann said the Sharks, who are being seen as one of the favourites to reach the Final, was a good yardstick for his side.

"We recovered well after a slow start," the Lions mentor told this website.

"I feel there won't be too much doubt, the players will start believing in their ability, despite the two defeats [to the Bulls and Sharks]," he added.

On the flipside, the Blues are into the second week of their tour of South Africa, and they would have acclimatised.

So the men from Auckland will pose a serious threat to the home side.

"There is no doubt [Blues coach] John Kirwan would have had a goal of winning at least one of his two games on tour," Ackermann told this website.

"They will come with a huge effort on Saturday, as they will be determined to get some points from the tour."

The Lions coach admitted his team will be on the receiving end of a backlash, after the Bulls gave the Blues a hiding last week.

"However, the Lions are looking forward to the challenge.

"It will be the first Australasian opposition we will face, after having played just South African opponents," Ackermann said, adding: "The guys have had their share of SA derbies, so it will be nice to face another team [from Australasia] and hopefully we will play with the same intensity and focus as when we face South African teams.

"It certainly adds some spice to the occasion and for many players it will be their first encounter with a New Zealand team.

"It has brought a new excitement in the camp and you can see the guys are looking forward to the weekend.

"Hopefully we get some good weather, as it has been raining a lot [with heavy thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday, slowly clearing up with some rain and stray showers towards the weekend].

"We are hoping it will clear up so we can have a good game."

By Jan de Koning

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Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 16h00 Newlands
Pumas v Blue Bulls 16h00 Mbombela Stadium
New Zealand v Tonga 19h00 Newcastle
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pumas v Free State Cheetahs 37 | 37
Fri, 02 October 2015
New Zealand v Georgia 43 | 10
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26