How Lions can benefit from June break

Wed, 31 May 2017 12:48

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The June break may hold the risk of breaking their momentum, but Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes it has greater benefits.

While they will not play together as a team, there will be plenty of game time for the bulk of his squad - at a higher level.

Ten players are in the Springbok squad for the three-Test series against France and another four have been called up for the South African 'A' team that will play two matches against the French Barbarians.

Ackermann said that his players will benefit from competing at international level.

He is adamant that his team will not be undercooked when the competition resumes at the end of June.

"Some years it [the June break] benefitted us, when players came back from injury," he said of the annual June break.

"At the moment we have a relatively healthy squad and we have momentum, so there is this period of uncertainty.

"However, [Lions and Bok captain] Warren [Whiteley] and a group of other guys will have some tough games [against France], while there are other guys who will be involved in the SA 'A' team [against the French Barbarians]."

The big risk is that with 14 players involved in the two national teams there is a chance of injury to key players.

The Lions are certainly not alone in this scenario and their main rivals in the competition carry the same risks.

"The All Blacks [New Zealand franchises with players in national teams] are in the same boat," Ackermann said, adding: "They will play a tough series [against the British and Irish Lions].

"Then the Australian team will play in tough matches.

"We have a large number [of players with the national teams] and that is the big thing - we have to deal with it.

"It would have been nice to just keep on playing for the next three or four weeks and get into the play-offs.

"However, that is not in our hands and we just have to manage the guys.

"All the teams are in the same boat."

The key aspect is how the Lions will manage their players once they return from international duty.

"We will managed it from individual to individual. Last year we had a number of Springboks, but not many of them started in all the Tests against Ireland.

"It is good for them to keep on training, to stay fit and have match fitness.

"It is better than the guys having the entire four weeks off.

"There is a chance that Warren [Whiteley] will play all 80 minutes in the three Tests, as the [Bok] captain.

"We will have to manage him in that first week ahead of the Sunwolves game.

"We have to look how much game time did a player get. Did he play off the bench? Did he start? Is he carrying any niggles?

"We have to manage the players from there on.

"A guy like Kyle Brink must play one or two domestic games. With the Springboks we must first see how much game time they got."

The coach feels it is also the experience of playing at international level that will benefit his players.

"If you look at players like Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan and Ruan Dreyer, when they play international rugby they will grow as players.

"You don't get a much bigger scrum challenge than the French.

"Courtnall could get some Test experience and he will come back with that experience.

"That could benefit us in the play-offs.

"Last year we played some of out best rugby after the [June break], so hopefully we can do the same this year."

@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14