Currie Cup

Lions target defensive lapses

2014-09-16 14:41
Johan Ackermann (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann would like his charges to eliminate lapses in defence when they take on the surprise package in this year's Currie Cup, the Pumas, in Johannesburg on Friday.

While his outfit turned in a good performance against Western Province over the weekend, the Lions leaked two tries at the death.

"Obviously the game was won but we've had a look at the final six minutes and we don't want to concede tries," Ackermann said on Tuesday.

"At times we conceded stupid penalties where we released the pressure which turned on us.

"We want to be more accurate from first phase attack, so there is always something to improve on."

This weekend will usher in the first round of one-off matches with the Lions facing the Pumas for the first time this season.

While the Lions will be looking to extend their unbeaten run on home soil, the match will also be a battle for second place on the Currie Cup log.

The second-placed Lions are one point ahead of the Pumas on the table and could further cement their chances of earning a home semifinal.

"All the teams aim to win their home matches and want to play at home if they make it into the playoffs," Ackermann said.

"It won't happen when you focus on your opponent... if we can play the rugby we played over the weekend and stick to our processes then it can go well.

"It is a home match and I would expect no excuses from the players in terms of their preparations."

Meanwhile, Ackermann stuck with continuity in his team selections, making only one change to the starting XV that beat Province 35-33 over the weekend.

Lock Martin Muller has been given a starting berth in place of the injured MB Lusaseni.

"Martin experienced a frustrating Super Rugby as he struggled with a groin injury," Ackermann said.

"Now that he will get game-time we will see his full potential because I've regarded him highly before he joined us from Griquas and the Cheetahs."

Ackermann said Lusaseni had grown tremendously since the start of the year and he felt Muller had some big shoes to fill.

On the bench, loose forward Derick Minnie will return from injury to provide cover, while hooker Malcolm Marx needs to pass a fitness test to be included as a replacement.

The match will also see teammates from the Super Rugby campaign go up against each other.

Ackermann said while it would be interesting to see how the players perform against each other, the build-up remained the same no matter the opposition.

"We need to reset each week and start anew irrespective of the team we will face," he said.

"We respect the Pumas but it is about how well we want to play and if we can execute that and get the result. Then it is a bonus."

Golden Lions:
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe (captain), 12. Stokkies Hanekom, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Ricky Schroeder, 8. Willie Britz, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Armand van der Merwe, 1. Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16. Malcolm Marx/Willie Wepener, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Julian Redelinghuys, 19. Derick Minnie, 20. Warwick Tecklenburg, 21. Mark Richards, 22. Howard Mnisi


Read more on:    golden lions  |  currie cup  |  johan ackermann  |  rugby

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