Currie Cup

Lions wiser after Bulls tussle

2015-09-18 12:51
Johan Ackermann (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - With four matches left in the regular Currie Cup competition, the Golden Lions are bracing themselves for the playoff stages.

The Lions swept past the opposition in their first five matches with relative ease but had to fight off a spirited comeback by the Blue Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

Going into the half-time break with a 30-7 advantage, the Johannesburg side looked well on their way to a demolition of the Bulls but held on for an eight-point victory.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes it was a crucial learning curve for his side which would come in handy during the playoffs.

“In the context of the season you will have those games where the momentum swings and many of the guys that weren’t involved in Super Rugby learned how to respond when the momentum swings against you,” Ackermann said ahead of their match against the Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

“In the playoffs you will have the same kind of scenario, the quality of the sides are of such a nature that if you lead it doesn’t mean they won’t fight back.”

Ackermann expects another dogfight when the Sharks travel to Ellis Park at risk of losing their place among the front-runners.

The Sharks are currently in fourth place on the log on 13 points and a defeat could see the Cheetahs and the Pumas leapfrog past the coastal side should they win their respective matches.

The Cheetahs occupy fifth place, only a point behind the Sharks, while the Pumas are in sixth place on 9 points.

“I still believe the Sharks are a quality side that has a wealth of experience... they are a team with their backs against the wall and they will be desperate to get their season back on track,” Ackermann said.

“They have too much quality to be underestimated and we can expect a big challenge.”


Golden Lions:

15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Fabian Booysen, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel (captain), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Lourens Erasmus, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Ruan Dreyer

Substitutes: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. MB Lusaseni, 19. Stephan de Witt, 20. Jaco van der Walt, 21. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22. Antony Volmink


15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Wandile Mjekevu, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Francois Kleinhans, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Dave McDuling, 19. Daniel du Preez, 20. Michael Claassens, 21. Heimar Williams, 22. Garth April


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