Currie Cup

Ackermann: Let's enjoy the moment

2015-10-22 14:53
Johan Ackermann (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – Playing for the Currie Cup title in front of their home crowd brings some added pressure but Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann wants his charges to enjoy the moment in Saturday’s final against Western Province in Johannesburg.

"The players know you only get the one opportunity and if you make a mistake it can cost you points or even the match so there is that added pressure," Ackermann said at the team announcement on Thursday.

"The 22 guys need to stay in the moment and focus on the job they need to do and don’t do something different.

"The players know they have this opportunity and they must enjoy it ... to be in the final is a privilege and we are thankful to the supporters."

The Lions have been the form side this season winning 11 consecutive matches in the build-up to the final and could become the first side since the 90s to bow out of the competition with an unbeaten record.

The Sharks were the last team to finish the Currie Cup without a single defeat when they claimed the 1996 title with 15 victories from as many matches.

The will have to overturn a trend in recent years where the underdog has gone away with the spoils in the final.

Ackermann made only three changes to the side that beat a resilient Free State Cheetahs side in last weekend’s semi-final at Ellis Park.

The former Springbok lock surprised with the selection of Kwagga Smith, who has been used effectively as impact off the bench, at flank ahead of Steph de Witt.

Regular outside centre Stokkies Hanekom has been dropped to the bench with Rohan Janse van Rensburg earning a starting berth, while Robbie Coetzee will wear the number-2 jersey with Malcolm Marx dropping to the bench.

"Both of them (Smith and Janse van Rensburg) have been rotated throughout the season and they’ve been selected for the specific roles they can play," Ackermann explained.

"They are two exciting players that we feel don’t always get a fair shot from the bench and they can show what they can do right from the start.

"In saying that Stokkies has the X-factor and Steph de Witt has the ability to make an impact off the bench and we are strengthening our bench."


Golden Lions:

15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Courtnall Skosan, 13. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel (captain), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Lourens Erasmus, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Jacques van Rooyen

Substitutes: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Ruan Dreyer, 18. Fabian Booysen, 19. Stephan de Witt, 20. Jaco van der Walt, 21. Stokkies Hanekom, 22. Sampie Mastriet

Western Province:

15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Juan de Jongh (captain), 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Huw Jones


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