Lions wary of 'dangerous' Blues

    2014-03-14 19:04
    Johannesburg - Defence will be key for the Lions to get their Super Rugby campaign back on track when they face the Blues at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    The Lions made an encouraging start to their return to the competition after two consecutive victories but lost steam with two back-to-back losses in the last two weeks.

    The Blues are a dangerous prospect on attack and they can cut a team's defence in half.

    "You will have to look after your ball at ruck time, because when they get turnover ball they are dangerous," Ackermann said.

    "You have to kick well because they definitely look for those opportunities."

    Ackermann said his side was well-aware of the Blues' ability on attack but his charges would treat the tourists any different from other opposition.

    "Defensively, we will stick to the way we've done things over the last four weeks and it is going to boil down to the individual to make his tackles," he said.

    "We are not going to change anything drastically just because we are playing the Blues. Our defence is good enough to keep them at bay."

    The Blues were tactically outplayed by the Bulls last week in wet conditions.

    With the inclement weather likely to play a role in Saturday's clash the game could turn into a tactical arm-wrestle.

    Ackermann has entrusted the number-10 jersey to Marnitz Boshoff who could be the Lions' biggest trump card with his deft place-kicking.

    Boshoff is the leading points-scorer in the competition, on 70, with the Crusaders' Tom Taylor in second place with 43 points.

    The Lions coach said they would call on Boshoff's tactical kicking if need be but Ackermann said he preferred a running game plan.

    Ackermann said his charges were prepared to handle the pressure and had been given instructions not be sucked into an unstructured game.

    With a restructured backline, which included a new back three, Ackermann made his intentions clear and said they would be looking to send the ball wide.

    Because his backline has lacked pace in recent weeks, he has subsequently included Courtnall Skosan and JW Jonker as wings.

    Boshoff has been moved from fullback to pivot giving Coenie van Wyk a chance to stake a claim in the last line of defence.

    Van Wyk has been one of the Pumas' playmakers and he will be itching to make his mark at this level.

    For the first time this season Ackermann was not forced to change his centre combination.

    Stefan Watermeyer, the only constant in midfield, will have the same partner next to him in Deon van Rensburg.

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