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
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 09h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 11h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 09h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 11h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19