Lions expect frosty reception from the Australian 'Bulls'

Wed, 10 May 2017 12:12

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Lions coach Johan Ackermann gas described the Brumbies as Australia's version of the Bulls. Jan de Koning reports.

Ackermann, speaking ahead of their Round 12 encounter, said the Brumbies will present them with their toughest challenge on their three-match tour - when the sides go head-to-head in Canberra on Friday.

While the Lions are determined to maintain their expansive mantra, they will have to make some adjustments to account for the Brumbies' smothering tactics.

"We would always like to be known as a team with an expansive gameplan," Ackermann said this week, adding: "It is one of the goals the players set for themselves.

"We do not like to deviate from that, but some teams don't allow for much play and the Brumbies are one of those.

"They smother you [put pressure on you], work hard at the breakdowns, they are good at competing in the line-outs and their defence is very good."

Ackermann did not hide the fact that his team will have to "make some adjustments" on Friday.

"It is an evening game, it will be cold and the surface will be slippery because of the cold and dew," the Lions coach said.

"I call them the Bulls of Australia. They are big and physical and they 'smother' you.

"We expect them to attack our line-outs and breakdowns, in an attempt to disrupt our rhythm."

Despite the Lions' game-to-game approach, the Brumbies present the Lions' biggest challenge on the tour.

"We knew the Brumbies, on paper, would pose the biggest threat, but we couldn't afford to get ahead of ourselves and worry about the Brumbies ahead of the games against the Force and Rebels.

"Even with the shorter week [from a Saturday fame to a Friday match], our routine hasn't changed.

"Yes, the weather will be a challenge - as they are expecting a very cold evening on Friday.

"The Brumbies are different from other Australian teams and we have to adjust - we will have to adjust to the weather, we have to adjust to the pressure they will create.

"There won't be major changes to our gameplan, but we have to deal with the physical confrontation and adjust to what they bring to the game. They will try to stop our game and then we have to adjust."

Ackermann admitted they have made some 'minor tweaks' to their game plan - with a bit more tactical kicking.

"Teams have analysed us a lot since last year," he said, adding: "Obviously they attempt to disrupt as and put pressure on us in different areas.

"The most important question is: 'Where is the pressure coming from?'

"Sometimes pressure can be relieved by changing direction, sometimes it can be relieved through good tactical kicking and sometimes it is just hard work.

"Decision-making is where we will get challenged on Friday.

"The Brumbies are renowned for the pressure they create."

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 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 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 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