Lions rewarded for 'passion & pride'

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:29
Large lions general

The Lions' best-ever Super Rugby season came to an emphatic climax with their biggest victory in the competition.

The Lions' best-ever Super Rugby season came to an emphatic climax with their biggest victory in the competition, a 60-25 rout of the Cheetahs in Johannesburg at the weekend.

Lions' coach Johan Ackermann said the landmark result was a testament to the players' dogged determination.

"We are thankful and grateful for the win... it is good to see everything come together and a lot of hard work went in from the players. They were always positive at training and even before that patch before tour and on tour," Ackermann said.

He said the team's success came courtesy of camaraderie instead of the influence of individual superstars.

"There will be mistakes and one has to accept that, but if you ask players to play with commitment, passion and pride and they put in the work, then you can't ask for more."

The Lions were in rampant form at the weekend, running in eight tries to the three from the Cheetahs.

Wing Lionel Mapoe caused the most damage as he grabbed a hat-trick of tries. Ross Cronje, Robbie Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Andries Coetzee and Corne Fourie also crossed the whitewash.

Match referee Marius van der Westhuizen also had a hand in the match, dishing out four yellow cards, with three going to the Cheetahs and one to the Lions.

The visitors from Bloemfontein ultimately played with 14 men for half-an-hour of the match. At one point they only had 13 men on the field.

While Cheetahs' coach Naka Drotské was unhappy with the yellow cards, he bemoaned the amount of penalties his side conceded.

"It is impossible to play rugby if you concede 19 penalties to five and three yellow cards," Drotské said.

Only a year ago the Lions were in limbo after spending a year in the Super Rugby wilderness. They however silenced their critics in the best possible way by recording their seventh win of the season for a 12th place finish on the overall log.

For the Cheetahs this year was a polar opposite of last year, going from featuring in the playoffs in 2012 to being South Africa's weakest franchise, finishing 14th on the ladder.

The last two weeks were a sample of the Cheetahs' season as they produced possibly their best performance of the year a week ago with a defeat over the pace-setting Sharks, to the demolition at the hands of the Lions.

Ackermann said although they would be losing players to other unions and clubs, they were in a healthier position compared to the other South African franchises.

"We've got our challenges where there are obviously players that are hunted by other unions and hopefully we can hang onto them," he said.

"We've got the core of the group signed up and ready to go next year. Hopefully we can build on what we achieved this season.

"As we've seen with the Cheetahs, the Reds and the Chiefs, it will be a new challenge and you can't rely on what you achieved in the previous year. The one year you can be at the bottom and the next year you are at the top."

SAPA

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Zebre 22h00 RDS Arena
Sat, 13 February 2016
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Saracens v Wasps 15h00 Allianz Park
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 16h00 Kingston Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0