Composed Lions tackled like demons

Sun, 16 Mar 2014 15:28
Large lions v blues

The Lions' gritty defence in the opening exchanges lay the foundation for their 39-36 victory over the Blues at Ellis Park in Johannesburg at the weekend.

The Lions' gritty defence in the opening exchanges lay the foundation for their 39-36 victory over the Blues at Ellis Park in Johannesburg at the weekend, coach Johann Ackermann said after the match.

"The first-half defence was excellent, because for the first 10 minutes we were not in their half once," Ackermann said.

"To keep them out for that long and to show that composure - conceding no penalties and no points - was good.

"In the second half we started to see our set pieces reap rewards.

"A big part of our success in this match was our set-pieces."

The hosts scored the only points of the first half as they went into the half-time break with a 17-0 advantage over the visitors.

Handling errors by the Blues and two yellow cards - one either side of the half-time break - against the New Zealanders also played into the Lions' hands.

The Blues, however, launched an impressive fight back in the second half, amassing 36 points which included five tries.

The Lions, nevertheless, held on for their third victory of the season out of five games and are in fourth place on the overall Super Rugby log on 12 points, six adrift of the table-topping Sharks.

The Johannesburg-based franchise came painstakingly close to taking the full complement of points out of the match, but they were denied their fourth try on a few occasions.

Ackermann would, however, not be too disappointed by not claiming the extra point as the victory would instil the belief in his charges that they were capable of beating quality opposition.

"At the end of the day, the guys showed character and pulled it off, it was too close for comfort but I will take it," he said.

Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff again starred for the Lions as his deft kicking kept the scoreboard ticking over, while he also relieved the pressure through pin-point tactical kicking.

He contributed 24 of his side's points with three conversions, four penalties and two drop-goals.

Ackermann said the in-form flyhalf had a positive influence on the rest of the players as they fed off his self-belief.

"His confidence is high, his decision-making is good - when to kick into the corner, when to run and when to go for the drop-goal," Ackermann said.

"It is great when a player is that confident. It also gives confidence to the team."

Lions captain Warren Whiteley said winning their first encounter against a foreign franchise after they faced South African teams in the first four weeks would be a major confidence boost to a team that sat on the Super Rugby sidelines last year.

"We can learn a lot from our second half when we let them in, but I am definitely happy with the character," he said.

"That first half performance was outstanding. We absorbed the pressure really well and kept them out... it ultimately set us up for the win."

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Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14