Ackermann: Set-pieces the key

2013-06-02 15:30
Johan Ackermann (File)
Johannesburg - Lions coach Johan Ackermann says being able to control set-pieces was the key factor in his team's 74-14 thrashing of Samoa at Ellis Park on Saturday.

"The tight phases was where it all started, our scrums and lineout were excellent," Ackermann said after the game.

"That was the most important thing, especially against a side that loves to run with the ball... we laid the platform up front."

The inability of the Samoans to secure good primary possession was just the start of their worries and a woeful defensive effort allowed the Lions to run in 10 tries, several from long-range.

"We're obviously incredibly embarrassed by that performance," Samoa fullback Paul Williams said.

"It felt like we couldn't get any clean ball to play with across the park, not that us backs were doing much with the ball we did get."

The Samoans suffered a number of injuries ahead of the game, while the team had only been able to spend limited time in preparation, but Williams said this did not excuse their lacklustre showing.

"We haven't spent a long time together, but there are no excuses, when we ran out we expected to be a lot better than that," he said.

The victorious Ackermann was particularly pleased with the "balance" in the Lions play and the clinical execution of their game plan ahead of the all-important promotion/relegation games against the bottom team in the South African Conference of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

"That's the brand of rugby we want to play, we want to mix it up and bring back the spectators and make them proud. We don't want to just kick and charge," Ackermann said.

"Some of the tries we scored tonight could be the best of the season. We got the balance right, the players took initiative and there were several moments of individual brilliance. It was one of the best games we've played because of that balance, we were direct when we needed to be and it was really good rugby."

The former Springbok lock said the Samoans had plenty of work to do if they are going to be a factor in their quadrangular series Tests against Scotland and Italy, and possibly South Africa.

"In order to play the Boks, they're going to have to beat Scotland and Italy and to do that, they're going to have to handle the tempo of the game and improve their scrums," he said.

"I know they have a couple of locks still to come over, but they need props as well to stem the tide. JC Janse van Rensburg and Ruan Dreyer had them under pressure from the start, and they also need to work on stopping the rolling maul."


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