Bok discard still adds value to Lions

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:55

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Francois de Klerk may be surplus to requirements in the Springbok set-up, but he remains a valuable asset to the Lions.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to rugby365 ahead of their Round Six encounter with the Sharks in Johannesburg this coming Saturday, said he still rates De Klerk.

The axing of the 25-year-old, who started in nine of South Africa's Tests last year and played off the bench in two others, has been one of the main talking points after Bok coach Allister Coetzee named 40-odd players for a training camp in Stellenbosch next week.

Ackermann admitted that there is no player who doesn't have something to work on.

"Francois [De Klerk] will be the first to say there are some work-ons," the Lions mentor said.

"I have not spoken to Allister [Coetzee] or any of the other Springbok coaches to find out the reasons for his axing.

"However, in our system, we have three very good scrumhalves and some very good juniors - with Ross [Cronje], Dillon [Smit] and Francois [De Klerk].

"They push each other all the time."

He said De Klerk still does what is expected of him in the Lions team.

"At times I will utilise him in a different role or maybe rotate him with Ross."

Ackermann said they have no plans to discard De Klerk and will continue treating him the same way as they have done before.

"He has a specific role he plays in the team and for us, he is very valuable in terms of what he brings [to the game]," the coach told rugby365.

"We are very happy with him as player and person.

"As I have said, there are always aspects of any player's game we can work on and we will continue to work with him."

Ackermann also dismissed the notion that De Klerk's passing game is an issue.

"He is a player that gets a lot of freedom," he said, adding: "Sometimes he should have passed when he ran, or ran when he passed.

"He may well have been in two minds and then it influenced his pass. It is about the decision-making.

"Sometimes his passing isn't that great, but that could happen to any player.

"There is no doubt he will always be able to work on his passing, just like he can always work on his box-kicking. Then he can also work on his decision-making.

"We have a number of players who have aspects of their game to fix.

"He [De Klerk] brings something to our team that suits us and what we are happy about.

"We just have to keep on working with him and give him that confidence."

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28