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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Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28