Lions need that 'killer instinct'

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:45
Large lions training general2

The Lions have surprised most pundits and sit in a handy fourth place on the Super Rugby standings.

The Lions have surprised most pundits and sit in a handy fourth place on the Super Rugby standings.

However, coach Johan Ackermann has again warned against too high expectations, despite his team's impressive early-season form.

Having already beaten the Cheetahs and Stormers (by more than 20 points), their win over the Blues this past weekend made one thing very clear - the men from Johannesburg are not going to be the 'easybeats' all the so-called experts predicted them to be.

However, Ackermann - speaking to this website ahead of their Round Six encounter with the Reds, said his team is still learning in every game - having been taught another very valuable lesson by the Blues last Saturday.

As they head into their first encounter with an Australian team this week, Ackermann feels his charges need to start showing a killer instinct and not let the foot off the gas as they did against the Blues.

"They certainly bring a new challenge," Ackermann told this website, when asked about the upcoming encounter with the Brisbane-based Reds.

"We can't just look at their game against the Sharks this past Saturday," the Lions coach said of a 20-35 loss in Durban, adding: "We have to accept that they may have been a bit below par.

"It was their first game on the road and we have to realise they will be a much bigger threat.

"We know how dangerous their backline can be and we will certainly have to improve our defence."

Ackermann said it is just as important to work on their own game plan.

"We obviously have to tick all the boxes, like line-outs and scrums," the coach said.

"However, the main focus will be our defence.

"We had a few mishaps [on defence] against the Blues this past weekend and those have to be rectified."

The coach felt the errors that allowed the Blues to come back from 0-20 down and almost snatch victory (the Lions won 39-36) can not be laid at the door of their defensive system, but rather individuals they have to pay some attention to.

"At one stage we had too much of an advantage and the intensity was just not the same [as the first half]," Ackermann said.

"It was another lesson for the players, in Super Rugby no team ever gives in. You have to play for 80 minutes and once you have a lead you have to concentrate even more on not letting up the pressure and easing off.

"Many of the younger guys, who are in their first Super Rugby season, would have learned that lesson this weekend," he said admitting that the "killer instinct" is something they have to bring on board very quickly.

"Especially if you play against a team who has been in those situations before," he said, adding: "We faced a Blues team with six All Blacks and this week a Reds team littered with Wallabies.

"Those are guys who have played Test matches and know what it takes to have to work hard to erase at deficit.

"They will never give in and when you have the lead, you have to maintain that intensity.

"As soon as you take your foot off the throat they will come back at you. They [the Reds] have talent right across the field and they will find a spot to expose you if you drop the intensity even just slightly."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
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