Lions longing for perfection

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:40
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Johan Ackermann is looking for his team to eliminate the 'soft moments' from their game that have cost them two games.

Johan Ackermann is looking for his team to eliminate the 'soft moments' from their game that have cost them two games in a row, as he prepares for the match against the Stormers.
 
In the Lions' past two games, coach Ackermann has been quick to point out 'soft moments' and poor decision making as the major contributors to his team's demise. 
 
A turnover try from the Sharks' Lwazi Mvovo last weekend, and mistakes at the back against the Crusaders cost the Lions critical points and potentially halted their chances of winning those matches.
 
Furthermore, the Lions also threw away more chances at points against the Sharks with scrumhalf Faf de Klerk guilty of taking a quick tap instead of handing the ball to kicking-machine, Marnitz Boshoff.
 
This has led to the Lions coach calling for his team to perfect their gameplan and stick to the basics as they prepare to travel to Newlands to take on the bottom-of-the-log Stormers.
 
"There is not much we can change now at this stage, we are going to stick to what we know," Ackermann said
 
"We must just get better at what we do and knock out those soft moments.
 
"We had two soft moments in the Crusaders game and it cost us two tries, another soft moment this weekend and it cost us a try."
 
The Lions' boss believes cutting out moments of weakness is the key to securing a win away from home against a team that is not easy to score against.
 
"If we can cut down these moments of weaknesses - the moments of dropping focus and intensity then hopefully we can do it.
 
"The Stormers are a defensive side so you have to work hard for your points, we know its going to be a tough game," Ackermann added.
 
Ackermann alluded to the competitiveness of Super Rugby in a previous interview with this website and has again reiterated how you can never think you are safe in a game, or even on the log.
 
"There is not a moment in Super Rugby - it doesn't matter who you play, where you play - where you can ease off.
 
"It doesn't just mean leading on the scoreboard, even if you are behind, if you make one silly error you can expect a side to punish you, miss one vital tackle expect to go down 40 or 50 metres on the field.
 
"If you are ill-disciplined at ruck-time you are punished by the kickers like Frans Steyn, like on the weekend, that is the quality of players that are around.
 
"You can't have a five minute or a 10 minute spell where you drop your focus and your intensity and your accuracy.
 
"The Stormers are nothing different from any other team, if you make your mistakes in the wrong area they will punish you," Ackermann said.
 
Ackermann knows that the Stormers are going to be a massive challenge regardless of their previous results. He respects the Cape Town team as well as acknowledging that his team's recent results are also nothing to write home against.
 
"We are also not on the best of streak with two losses.
 
"They had a bit of a week to reflect and refresh and they are probably going to have some players back.
 
"They were right in most of their games and are obviously a quality team with quality players all over.
 
"They are a a much better team than the results are showing, so for us it is a massive challenge," the coach concluded.
 
By Darryn Pollock
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