Returning stars to bolster Lions

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 13:08
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REACTION: Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann said his squad will be further bolstered by the return of key players ahead of their clash against the Blue Bulls next weekend.

Some of those returning players were given a rest during the Lions' 60-12 win against Boland and others are returning from injury.

The Lions outscored the Cavaliers by nine tries to two en route to the victory in Johannesburg on Friday and Ackermann told journalists at the post-match press conference that he was proud of the team’s performance.

"We have done a great job from last week [24-30 defeat against Griquas] to this week, but now it's going to be really important that we get the nitty gritty stuff sorted out," said Ackermann.

Looking ahead to next week's local derby against the Bulls, Ackermann added that the experienced players who will be returning to the squad will further improve the team dynamic.

"We are going to have some players coming back, hopefully Kwagga [Albertus] Smith will be joining us next week. Rohan Janse van Rensburg is on the verge of coming back from injury.

"It's not going to make selection easy but it's good to know that there are some players that we didn't play tonight [Friday] with a bit more experience, like Courtnall Skosan. But the challenge is out there, there are quality teams and we have to focus on them. 

"Jaco van der Walt, Courtnall Skosan, Jacques van Rooyen, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, all those guys haven't played tonight [Friday]. 

"We didn't discard them, they were only rested and rotated, so we have to sit down on Monday and consider how we are going to get the combinations going.

"I've always said to the guys that I want to rotate the guys and I think for us, mentally, it's a great opportunity to test them in the Currie Cup," explained Ackermann.

The last time the two teams played each other was in a Super Rugby match back in May and on that occasion the Lions ran riot as they outscored the Bulls by seven tries to three en route to a 56-20 victory in Pretoria.

The Lions find themselves sitting in third place on the Currie Cup Premier Division table with 12 points from three games which includes two bonus point victories and one defeat.

The Bulls lost 19-26 to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday and that result leaves them in fourth position on the log with 11 points from four games after two victories and two defeats.

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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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
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Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
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