Lions' claws to be sharpened

Sun, 14 Aug 2016 09:36
Large armand vd merwe lions tackled 800

REACTION: The Golden Lions may have claimed a more than comfortable 68-26 victory over the Pumas but know they have plenty of sharpening up to do as the tournament wears on.

The Lions ran in 10 tries to the Pumas' four but coach Johan Ackerman was not entirely pleased with the performance.

"We are thankful for the victory and there are many positives to take from the game but we know that there are a lot of things that requires some work. If we put the tries aside, it was not a complete performance and not much should be read into the margin of victory.

"The win was important to help the younger players with their confidence and next week will be a lot harder. When you combine players in a team who have not played together before, it is going to take some time for them to gel but it [the result] is a good starting block for us.

"Overall, the guys played with a lot of freedom and we scored some good tries but there were too many moments when we looked very average, which is something we need to improve on," Ackerman said.

The Lions lacked discipline in the opening minutes of the encounter, receiving two yellow cards in 11 minutes. Armand van der Merwe received his marching orders as early as the seventh minute and Ackerman believes it was a 'debatable' call.

"The first yellow was debatable. There was a breakdown in communication and all that Stuart [Berry] heard was the word 'dangerous', so I'm not sure if it was worthy of a card so early in the game.

"Our discipline was definitely not good but we want to make it difficult for our opponents and not give them easy penalties. We know what the referees expect at the breakdowns, so the disappointing part was seeing the players trying to test him [the ref] in that area.

"However, the one pleasing part of all that was the way we managed to hold onto the ball for that period," he added.

Ackerman reserved special mention for the likes of Victor Sekekete and Justin Ackerman for their performances and the hunger they showed.

"There are guys I haven't worked a lot with like Victor [Sekekete] and Justin Ackerman - both of them played well. So it's good to see new faces and guys that are hungry to perform. The big challenge for us is to keep working by giving the guys enough game time to improve their match fitness.

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Fri, 28 October 2016
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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1