LIVE

    Lions' tenacity rewarded

    2014-07-13 16:45

    Johannesburg - The Lions' best-ever Super Rugby season came to an emphatic climax with their biggest victory in the competition, a 60-25 rout of the Cheetahs in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    As it happened: Lions v Cheetahs

    Lions' coach Johan Ackermann said the landmark result was a testament to the players' dogged determination.

    "We are thankful and grateful for the win... it is good to see everything come together and a lot of hard work went in from the players. They were always positive at trainings and even before that patch before tour and on tour," Ackermann said.

    He said the team's success came courtesy of camaraderie instead of the influence of individual superstars.

    "There will be mistakes and one has to accept that, but if you ask players to play with commitment, passion and pride and they put in the work, then you can't ask for more."

    The Lions were in rampant form on Saturday evening, running in eight tries to the three from the Cheetahs.

    Winger Lionel Mapoe caused the most damage as he grabbed a hat-trick of tries. Ross Cronje, Robbie Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Andries Coetzee and Corne Fourie also crossed the whitewash.

    Match referee Marius van der Westhuizen also had a hand in the match, dishing out four yellow cards, with three going to the Cheetahs and one to the Lions.

    The visitors from Bloemfontein ultimately played with 14 men for half-an-hour of the match. At one point they only had 13 men on the field.

    While Cheetahs' coach Naka Drotské was unhappy with the yellow cards, he bemoaned the amount of penalties his side conceded.

    "It is impossible to play rugby if you concede 19 penalties to five and three yellow cards," Drotské said.

    Only a year ago the Lions were in limbo after spending a year in the Super Rugby wilderness.

    They however silenced their critics in the best possible way by recording their seventh win of the season for a 12th place finish on the overall log.

    For the Cheetahs this year was a polar opposite of last year, going from featuring in the playoffs in 2012 to being South Africa's weakest franchise, finishing 14th on the ladder.

    The last two weeks were a sample of the Cheetahs' season as they produced possibly their best performance of the year a week ago with a defeat over the pace-setting Sharks, to Saturday's demolition at the hands of the Lions.

    Ackermann said although they would be losing players to other unions and clubs, they were in a healthier position compared to the other South African franchises.

    "We've got our challenges where there are obviously players that are hunted by other unions and hopefully we can hang onto them," he said.

    "We've got the core of the group signed up and ready to go next year. Hopefully we can build on what we achieved this season.

    "As we've seen with the Cheetahs, the Reds and the Chiefs, it will be a new challenge and you can't rely on what you achieved in the previous year. The one year you can be at the bottom and the next year you are at the top."

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    29 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read
    Commented
    /World Cup

    Results

    04 July 2015
    27 June 2015
    20 June 2015
    13 June 2015
    12 June 2015
    06 June 2015
    05 June 2015
    30 May 2015
    29 May 2015
    23 May 2015
    22 May 2015
    16 May 2015
    15 May 2015
    09 May 2015
    08 May 2015
    02 May 2015
    01 May 2015
    26 April 2015
    25 April 2015
    24 April 2015
    18 April 2015
    17 April 2015
    11 April 2015
    10 April 2015
    04 April 2015
    03 April 2015
    28 March 2015
    27 March 2015
    22 March 2015
    21 March 2015
    20 March 2015
    14 March 2015
    13 March 2015
    07 March 2015
    06 March 2015
    28 February 2015
    27 February 2015
    21 February 2015
    20 February 2015
    15 February 2015
    14 February 2015
    13 February 2015

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    EXPERT OPINION

    “Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semis, writes Herman Mostert.”

    Opinion Poll

    Super Rugby is a thing of the past. Next up: The Rugby Championship. Who will emerge victorious this season?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.