Bulls 'taught us a lesson'
Johannesburg - Lions coach Johan Ackermann has admitted the Bulls “taught us a lesson” on how to play in wet weather during their 25-17 Vodacom Super Rugby loss at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
According to the supersport.com website, Ackermann was not a despondent man after the loss, saying his team were simply outplayed by a better team on the day and would learn the lessons they had been taught by their northern neighbours before they head to Durban for a clash with the high-flying Cell C Sharks.
After two wins on the trot, the Lions momentum was halted on Saturday, robbing them of a chance to go top of the log, but there was little dismay on Ackermann’s side, as he took the loss on the chin, bemoaning the wet weather as the key difference between the sides.
“If the ball was dry, it would have been a different game, because you can counter better and there is less risk. We’ve got a side that is good at counter-attacking. We wouldn’t have kicked as much, so that would have changed the game,” Ackermann said.
“We were taught a lesson on how to play in the wet weather. That lesson we will have to take to heart if we are to get another game in wet weather. If it was a dry game, then hopefully our plan and the way we want to play would have worked better. So I don’t think there is too much to change, we must simply execute better.”
Still with two wins out of three on their return to Super Rugby, the Lions coach isn’t at all unhappy. He has a boost this week with the likes of Anthony Volminck and Elton Jantjies both returning to the senior side and up for selection.
But while they are regular Lions stalwarts, they may be forced to play from the bench this weekend against the Sharks as Ackermann is set to give his starting line-up another chance.
Having been tactically strangled in the wet by the Bulls traditional strengths, the Lions will continue with their c’est la vie attitude to the loss, and since the expectations were never high before the season, they simply see any win as a massive bonus.
Against the Sharks they will give themselves a chance, even though the pre-season game was heavily one-sided in the scoreline. Few of the Lions players that played on the night at Ellis Park are likely to feature in the starting line-up this weekend and the Lions will be hoping the lethargy that comes from a bye weekend will be to their advantage as the Sharks return from a weekend off.
“We made a commitment as a management and as a team that we won’t get ahead of ourselves regardless of the log,” Ackermann added.
“We won’t put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, we will look where we have to fix and then the whole process of preparing for the week will stay the same, the emphasis will just change towards the Sharks.
“We could have taken a point out of this if we had one kick, or one opportunity more. We won’t be putting added pressure on ourselves, it’s early in the competition to worry about the complexion of the log. We will simply take it week by week and worry about the Sharks on Monday.”