Ackermann: De Bruin the right man for Lions

    2018-02-15 07:22

    Cape Town - Lions coach Swys de Bruin will do a good job leading the Johannesburg franchise in the 2018 Super Rugby campaign, his predecessor Johan Ackermann believes.

    Ackermann led the Lions to two consecutive Super Rugby finals in 2016 and 2017 before leaving to coach English side Gloucester.

    De Bruin, who was assistant coach at the Lions for five years, was promoted to the head coaching role ahead of last year’s Currie Cup.

    He now enters his first Super Rugby season as head coach with the Lions hosting the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

    “Myself and Swys started a process together at the Lions in 2013. The guys know exactly what to expect of him. He knows how we want to play, what the players’ strong and weak points are and how the systems work,” Ackermann told Netwerk24.

    “Swys will want to leave his own mark on the team but the foundation is already there. I know the guys will do well,” Ackermann said, before adding that the experience of having reached two finals would stand the team in good stead if they reach the knockout phases.

    De Bruin, meanwhile, indicated that he would be looking to build on the foundations laid by Ackermann at the Lions.

    "I don’t see it as a new cycle whatsoever," he told Sport24.

    "I was here for five years with Ackers and so was the rest of our staff. Apart from the three young coaches that joined us (this season), it's exactly the same group of players.

    "We lost Faf (De Klerk). He was a good player but never really a senior player and nor was Ruan Ackermann or Akker van der Merwe.

    "Those are the three players we lost but the rest are all still here. All our Boks are still here and we’ve got a very good senior base of players."

    De Bruin will name his side for Saturday’s Super Rugby opener on Thursday.

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