Lions get Bok boost for play-offs

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:06
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CURRIE CUP SPOTLIGHT: Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann will welcome back a couple of Springboks for the Currie Cup semifinals.

Scrumhalf Francois de Klerk and prop Julian Redelinghuys will both be available for selection when they complete their obligations with the national team - which takes on the All Blacks in Durban on Saturday in the final round of the Rugby Championship.

"To my understanding, we cannot make use of contracted Springboks," the coach said, adding: "But Faf [De Klerk] and Julian [Redelinghuys] are not contracted Springboks players - so they are available for selection.

"However, I cannot say if they will play the semifinals, we just have to wait and see."

After beating the Sharks 28-16 at Ellis Park last Saturday, the Golden Lions will head to Bloemfontein to take on the inform Free State Cheetahs on October 15.

Despite a remarkable second-half comeback (from 0-13 down at the break) the coach has identified the challenges his side faced against the Sharks.

 "The scrums and the breakdowns were really under pressure during the first half," Ackermann said.

"Fortunately for us, the troops manage to correct their mistakes in the second half and came back strong," he added.

"As defending champions, our goal is to defend our title and go as far as we can in the competitions,"

"The management has given the guys time off and we will only start training on Monday [October 10]. This week will give the players the much-needed rest ahead of the crucial encounter."

In terms of his semifinal opponents, Ackerman praised Franco Smith's side the Free State Cheetahs. 

"So far the [Free State] Cheetahs have been the in-form team in the competition.

"They are a Super Rugby team and have been consistent and we really have to be on top form if we want to produce an upset in Bloemfontein,"

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