Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Lions coach Johan Ackermann may have been an angry man after his team’s loss to the Crusaders, but he is confident they can bounce back ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Cell C Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
According to the supersport.com website, Ackermann’s side has played the Sharks twice already this season – once in a pre-season warm-up game and once in their League fixtures – and on both occasions they lost heavily as the in-form coastal side dominated proceedings.
And come Saturday they will need to negate the Sharks strengths plus show a lot more patience and maturity than they did in their fixture against the Crusaders.
“We know the Sharks are physical at the breakdown and they try and dominate all the contact areas and we need to be ready for that,” coach Johan Ackermann said.
“We need to be better on our own ball and our defence needs to be rock solid. The Sharks like playing a pressure game and they are very direct team and we’re prepared for that.”
Ackermann said he was even more angry than he showed at the post-match presser when he watched the video again, as he saw “all the opportunities we missed.”
“It was worse to watch the game again,” Ackermann explained.
“I saw all the opportunities we missed. We had three very good scoring opportunities that we butchered and we did small things wrong that made a big difference.
“Our decision making at the breakdown wasn’t good enough either.”
Ackermann said he had spoken to the players’ involved and had put certain things in place at practice to make sure the same problems don’t re-emerge on Saturday.
“I handled it in a nice way with the players, those who didn’t have a good game – I showed them how dumb we played at times,” Ackermann said.
“But they have to go and rectify it on the field. We put the decision-makers in game situations and went through it again with them. We worked on where and when they should attack, in what area of the field.
“It seems this is a team that you’re going to have to keep on their toes all the time in practices and you’re going to have to spend time with the decision-makers on the field to get them right. We have to see if they take these lessons and implement them on the field.”
Ackermann would desperately like to win against Jake White’s side, not only to stave off a hat-trick of losses this season, but to give his inexperienced side a dollop of confidence before they leave for their four week tour of Australia and New Zealand as well.