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    Lions expect desperate Bulls

    2012-07-12 16:39

    Johannesburg - Lions interim coach Johan Ackermann says they need to be cautious in the face of a desperate Bulls team in their final Super Rugby clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

    "We know we are in for a fight at Loftus and we know that they are going to come out guns blazing because of the position they are in," Ackermann said at the Lions' team announcement here on Thursday.

    While the Bulls have been erratic in recent weeks, fresh off a 32-10 beating by the Sharks in Durban, the Lions seemed to have found their groove, coming away with a 37-32 victory over the Rebels at Coca-Cola Park last Saturday.

    "The Sharks had their backs to the wall and as we know any of those sides, if they are desperate, are quite dangerous," Ackermann said.

    "I think that is the kind of side we are going to play over the weekend.

    "We must just be as focused as them."

    Ackermann felt their victory over the Rebels did wonders for team morale and it would hold them in good stead for Saturday's Jukskei derby.

    "It was good to be on the winning side, although we fell asleep in the second half," he said.

    "But it is always better to come to training after a win than a loss.

    "The team spirit was good this week and especially in the team room afterwards."

    Lions captain Josh Strauss, who is without his characteristic bushy beard, echoed Ackermann's sentiments on the dangers of a desperate Bulls team.

    "Coming off a loss they will want to prove their worth especially this weekend and they would want to get some momentum going into the playoffs if they make it," Strauss said.

    "They are a bit of a desperate team at the moment and it is very dangerous playing against a team like that."

    He said the Lions had to be prepared for a war of attrition on Saturday.

    "They are going to be switched on and they will be very physical," he said.

    "We will have to man up and hopefully we can counter that."

    Ackermann made just one change to the starting line-up for Saturday's clash.

    Lock Ruan Botha will receive a starting berth in the place of the injured Franco van der Merwe.

    Ackermann said Van der Merwe's absence left a massive void but he was confident Botha would be a capable replacement.

    "He’s (Van der Merwe) one of our most experienced forwards, Super Rugby wise," Ackermann said.

    "It is a big loss but we have the confidence in Ruan Botha who is coming off a good SA Under-20 tournament.

    "He is the guy behind Franco so we must be able to trust him."

    Teams:

    Bulls:
    15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling

    Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Deon Stegmann, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Francois Venter

    Lions:

    15 James Kamana, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 JR Esterhuizen, 22 Ruan Combrinck

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