Lions limp away from victory

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:41
Large jaco van der walt lions injured 800

SUPER RUGBY REACTION: The Lions are counting the cost of their 44-14 victory over the Reds and face a test of their depth for the remainder of the competition.

Lions centre Lionel Mapoe has a potential broken hand, Johannes Jonker will need to be assessed following a head knock and Jaco van der Walt has, at best, damaged some ligaments.

Despite the injuries putting a damper on the victory, Lions head coach Johan Ackermann was pleased with the performance.

"Credit must go to our guys as they raised their standards to a level we feel we want to play at. I must admit that we were quite nervous heading into the game because of the experience they [the Reds] have in their team.

"However, we are very pleased with the result, even though the injuries we suffered put a damper on our mood. Our depth will be tested now, which is not a good thing so early in the competition," he said.

Despite scoring seven tries, the Lions' defence coach JP Ferreira was a bit concerned with the lack of discipline which allowed the Reds to score towards the end of the game.

"Our bench needs to know that they have got to bring the same intensity [on defence] as the starters. The score would have looked better if we kept them scoreless," Ferreira said.

Ackermann felt that the red card made a massive difference in the game, although he feels that Quade Cooper may not have deserved it.

"I don't know if he [Cooper] deserved a red card but that changed the game and it made a different. They [Reds] were forced to work a lot harder and ended up chasing the game and that created opportunities for us.

"I believe we were in control and showed good composure. Hopefully, that is a good sign that the senior players are getting match fit.

"We felt rushed when we were inside their 22 but we knew, beforehand, that we needed to remain patient. Although leaving points out there in the first half was frustrating, we knew that the damage was slowly being done.

Ackermann received plaudits from his counterpart Nick Stiles and the Lions head coach had a few words of encouragement for the Reds coach.

"Coming up with a game plan is a process and Nick is new to the Reds, so they need to get used to him. They have experienced players, so the effort needs to be collective.

"When we started a few years ago, we looked at what plan would suit the players we have and I think they need to do the same as well," Ackermann added.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19