Currie Cup

Lions supply blueprint for SA rugby

2015-10-26 14:23
John Dobson (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Western Province coach John Dobson believes the Golden Lions have supplied the blueprint for South African rugby following their perfect season which culminated in the Johannesburg side winning the Currie Cup title.

The Capetonians were on the receiving end of the Lions’ unbeaten run with the Lions sweeping past them on two occasions this season, including a 32-24 reverse in the final at Ellis Park.

“Their style of rugby going unbeaten through a season, they absolutely deserve to be champions and I think with their model, other teams in South Africa need to look at how rugby should be played for the benefit of South African rugby,” Dobson said.

Dobson earlier sang the Lions’ praises in their first encounter during the league phase when the Johannesburg side hammered them 62-32 at the same venue.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais also added his voice to the growing chorus that the Lions’ game plan should be used as a road-map for South African rugby.

“I still believe the way the Lions are playing is the way for South African rugby, they are playing excellent rugby,” Marais said following his side’s semi-final defeat to Western Province.

“It is something I believe in as well and it is something I will be enforcing in the next couple of months.”

The Lions’ evolution started with the arrival in 2010 of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell, who led the team to Currie Cup glory in 2011.

Current Lions coach Johan Ackermann, who was officially appointed as head coach of the team in 2013, continued with the game plan and made some finer adjustments.

He had taken players who featured on the fringes at other unions and forged them into a tightly knit unit.

Ackermann said he was honoured by the kind words from Dobson, adding that it had taken years for his team to reach this point.

“It is a great privilege to hear that but I think every union will have their own culture and style of play,” he said.

“If the country wants\ to follow us it means they will be looking at the same players as us but you have to look at your team as a whole and according to that adapt your structures in the way you want to play.”

He believes South Africa has the ability to employ any kind of style successfully given the variety of attributes the country’s players possess.

“We’ve got big forwards if you want to smash and bash with the forwards, we’ve got flair players if you want to play the flair game,” he said.

“I agree with him (Dobson) we can play any game, we don’t see ourselves as frontrunners, the group decided on a certain style and we backed it.”



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