Lions target Bulls scalp

2011-03-23 07:45

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – Just 33 days ago last year’s punching bag in Vodacom Super Rugby came close to beating the champions.

On Saturday, the two sides – the Lions and Bulls – will become the first teams to meet in a second league match in the new Super Rugby format.

The duel at Loftus comes at a time where winning has become a matter of urgency for both sides.

Since the last Jukskei Derby, the Lions have lost three games and the Bulls two, with both teams at the receiving end the past weekend.

What the teams will remember from 33 days ago is that it was a game of two halves. The Bulls dominated the first half and built a big lead. Then the Lions attacked throughout the second half and almost caught up with the Bulls.

Lions forwards coach Johan Ackermann said that indications were there in the previous Jukskei Derby that the Lions could beat the Bulls.

“We always give ourselves a good chance, and want to win and be competitive. The Bulls are still a terrific side full of Springboks and the game is at Loftus. But I think we saw enough (in the previous game) to believe we can win,” said Ackermann.

The former Springbok lock would have taken encouragement from his side getting 62% of the possession in the previous meeting between the sides. But that does not help much if you still lose.

The Lions have been guilty thus far of not converting their possession into the necessary points. Finishing will be very important at Loftus.

It was not just against the Bulls that the Lions had the majority of the possession. It was also the case against the Stormers (54%), the Blues (62%) and the Force (51%), but they lost against all three opponents.

They did, however, utilise their 55% possession against the Cheetahs and won the game.

What the statistics also indicate is that teams can win games with effective defence. The Lions have in all their defeats thus far been unable to convert their many attacking opportunities into points.

Ackermann said it was clear against the Force that the Lions lost momentum with critical errors, even after they had taken the lead.

“It was disappointing. One probably expects to have a downward curve again at some stage, but we did not expect it to happen after a victory (over the Cheetahs). It just goes to show how much work there is left to do with this bunch of players before they can achieve on a weekly basis.”

Now the Bulls are in the Lions’ sights and it’s not even necessary to make the point of how much a victory would mean to the Lions.

“But the Bulls are wounded and that makes them dangerous. We’ll have to be very accurate,” said Ackermann.


  • basie.lombard - 2011-03-23 07:54

    The Bulls are wounded and will come out with a bang. The Lions on the other hand must improve on their performance of last weekend! They must revert back to the gameplan they used in their matches in the first three weeks. I am fed-up with losing all the time. Go Lions!!!!!

      Jaco - 2011-03-23 08:44

      Basie, I was hoping that the Bulls would come out with a bang against the Stormers after losing to the Highlanders. That didn't happen. I just wonder, how motivated a bunch of guys who have won everything there is to win can be. Get rid of the guys who aren't interested anymore and blood some youngsters.

      CliffBradley - 2011-03-23 10:11

      basie.lombard : I am not a bulls fan in the least , but nothing short of kidnapping the whole team will help the lions , bulls are smarting after 2 thrashings - BEWARE THE WOUNDED BULL

      Alwyn - 2011-03-23 12:05

      @CLIFF,The first smart comment from you,well done

  • gooinat - 2011-03-23 08:05

    Bulls will be to strong for them this time around,although I would love the Lions to give them a klap.

      BALSAK - 2011-03-23 08:10

      The LIONS will give them a BIG FAT KLAP. Hie!! Ha ... Hie!!!!!!

      nixcroft - 2011-03-23 08:44

      it depends if the bulls change their game plan, and completely changing a game plan in one week in a team where it has been entrenched for the last 5 years isn't going to happen. I think the wet conditions in JHB didn't help. Rain and running rugby don't go hand in hand, i think that is why the lions fell by the way side. The forwards weren't dominant enough to play upfront rugby. if its dry at moftus i think you will see the running rugby the lions seem to be so good at and the little ball the bulls may have will be kicked away or crash balled by blondie oliver. Lions by 8 :) Go LIONS !!!!

  • BALSAK - 2011-03-23 08:09

    The LIONS to GRIND the HELL out of the BULLS and win this game by between 10-15 points. STORMERS jou lekka deng....

      Sonicboom - 2011-03-23 09:53

      Balsak I like your enthusiasm and hope the Lions come out firing on all cylinders, time to bury the bulls at Moftus

  • LionsFan - 2011-03-23 09:01

    GO Lions ,stop runnin out of wn 22,better defense ,tactical kicking -not down oppositions throat ,we can win this one

  • Factual Fred - 2011-03-23 09:52

    The Lions can take this one. Inside info has it that there is a serious rift in the bulls camp. Heyneke and Frans differ on the game plan. The old guard in the bulls side are loyal to Heyneke and the youngsters back Frans. The fact that Heyneke refused to coach the Vodacom side did not help matters. And they have lost 4 in a row now. Does not bode well for the WC as Snorre is seriously influenced by Victor.

  • Straight Forward - 2011-03-23 10:30

    If the Lions are serious about winning, they will have to replace a few players, starting with the BEE appointed Jantjies. He's useless and deserved being booed off the field at the last game.

      Bosduif - 2011-03-23 11:54

      No one deserves to be booéd off the field. The kid is not selecting himself.

  • Lions4ever - 2011-03-23 10:56

    I am probably the biggest biggest Lion supporter unfortunately I am sitting in the UAE and cannot attend any of the games however we do get to watch all the matches live. My point is being such a big supporter of the Lions I can't see the lions win any of their games if Michell keeps on relying on Elton Jantjies to do the job. He (Elton) has showed us now that he is just not in the same league as Patrick Lambie (Sharks)and O'Connor (Force). he just seems so nervous when he approaches a kick for either a penalty or a conversion. and his tactical kicking overall is very poor not to mention the defense especially last weekend' game. Earl Rose the second.

      Bosduif - 2011-03-23 12:01

      Nah... no Earl Rose. The kid's confidence is at a ultra low atm. He was good the first 2 games except for his kicking. Now he went back into his shell and is scared to do the things he do, because he is scared he will disapoint some people. Give him the last 20 min of the game, start with AP.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-03-23 11:14

    Good luck, may the best team win. Bulls forever.

      BALSAK - 2011-03-23 14:52

      POEPHOL, The LIONS is die BESTE TEAM between these 2.....

  • Bosduif - 2011-03-23 11:52

    Get a new captain.

  • rugby_guru - 2011-03-23 12:30

    Guys, lets be clear headed here, I need some insight for my picks this week, forget who you support, and wounded bulls and what ever other BS you think of... What is the stats on this win, 60/40 bulls? or 50/50 ? or Lions up? Please chose with your mind not your heart.

      Oukoos - 2011-03-23 14:21

      70/30 Bulls - unfortunately!

  • andrewpullen - 2011-03-23 12:49

    Come on lions. Lets make it three in a row, and hopefully the bulls can claim back there loss record!

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