Ackermann: The secrets we didn't reveal

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 09:43

PRE-SEASON SPOTLIGHT: Lions coach Johan Ackermann readily admitted that his team has a lot of work to do ahead of the start of the Super Rugby season.

However, he also cautioned against reading too much into the 40-57 loss to the Stormers in a pre-season outing at Newlands at the weekend.

Ackermann said he is happy with the amount of game time his players have had in pre-season and are not planning any additional outings.

The Lions coach said he does not want his team to go into the competition "overcooked" and is happy that they have enough time to resolve any existing issues on the training field.

The most significant declaration of his media briefing was his parting shot - that they did not reveal much in terms of their game plan and tactics.

"I am very exited," Ackermann said, adding: "There are things that we did not do [in this game], that we want to use in the competition.

"We hid away a lot of things, so don't worry."

The coach Spoke of the need to go back, analyse the game and work hard in the two weeks remaining before they take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 25.

"We first have to clean our own house and start with week one," he said, when asked what the goals for the season are.

Ackermann said there are positives and negatives to take from their trip to Newlands.

"We just conceded too many points," the coach said, adding: "While you expect it to be a bit more unstructured in a warm-up game, you simply don't want to concede 50 points.

"No doubt we will have to pay attention to it [defence] in the next two weeks, before we start the competition.

"At times we showed good intensity and at times not, but keep in mind some of these players have not played for a long time, so we are very happy that we had an opportunity at this level."

He said the Stormers improved a lot in terms of their attack and intensity since last year, so this was a good indication to the Lions about where they are in their build-up to the season.

"We have two weeks to fix the problems.

"We can look at continuity, ball in contact situations, the breakdowns and the scrums," he said.

He was also happy the players returning from Japan were in good shape.

Flank Jaco Kriel had a decent 35-minute run to get a feel for the system again, while flyhalf Elton Jantjies looked good.

He said that captain Warren Whiteley and utility back Lionel Mapoe will make a big difference in terms of the leadership when they return.

Whiteley had his wisdom teeth removed last week ad sat the game out, while Mapoe pulled a hamstring in training.

Both are expected to be back well ahead of the season opener in Bloemfontein.

By Jan de Koning'
@kings365ed
@rugby365com

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