Jaco Kriel relishing life at Lions

    2016-07-07 09:00

    Gareth Duncan -

    Johannesburg - Lions captain Jaco Kriel continues to impress on the South African rugby scene.

    Ask any South African rugby fan about their favourite moments of the 2015 season and most of them will point to Kriel’s outstanding performances for the Lions.

    Throughout Super Rugby and the Currie Cup, the 26-year-old loose forward was a key source of momentum. He has a special skill of being able to bump off tackles on attack, offering his team regular go-forward ball, while his tackling abilities and breakdown poaching skills put the opposition’s attack on the back foot.

    His individual contributions helped the Lions achieve their most successful Super Rugby campaign, while he captained the Johannesburg-based side to an unbeaten run in the Currie Cup, clinching their first domestic title since 2011.

    So it came as no surprise when he was named MyPlayers’ Player of the Year, an award presented by MyPlayers. In addition to this, he also received the Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards at the Lions prize-giving, highlighting his positive influence on and off the field.

    “All these awards were very special for me. It was a huge honour receiving this recognition from my peers, who I play with and against week in and week out,” Kriel tells MyPlayers Magazine.

    “I cherished the recognition from the Lions family very much as this is where I started my career. It was always my goal to make a valuable contribution to Lions rugby. I give a lot of credit to my coaches and team-mates, who back me on the field.

    “I was very disappointed not be included in the Springbok squad that competed at the Rugby World Cup last year, so the collective and individual achievements were all very special. Especially the Currie Cup campaign… it’s a memory that will last a lifetime.”

    The Lions are definitely a team on the rise. This was confirmed when they beat the Sharks 37-10 in Johannesburg last weekend, which secured their Super Rugby play-off place.

    What is the secret to this success?

    “A lot of credit needs to go to coach Akkers (head coach Johan Ackermann),” Kriel explains. “In the beginning, we were just a squad of different guys with different backgrounds. Many of the players had come from teams where they weren’t getting many opportunities. There weren’t many so-called ‘superstars’.

    “But coach Akkers believed in us as a unit. He made a big difference when it came to our mindset and gelled us into a team that relied on group effort. As team-mates, we play for each other.

    “He’s also a great coach, who is very passionate about his job. He’s very good when it comes to player management and is very honest with us. He tells it how it is, which is very important.

    “It’s been special seeing this group of players grow into a close unit. There’s mutual respect among coaches and players at the Lions.”

    During the recent June Tests against Ireland, Kriel recently achieved his dream of becoming a Springbok. He now wants to add to this legacy.

    “Making my Test debut was definitely a proud moment. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little boy, growing up on the farm back in Standerton,” said Kriel.

    “From the team’s point of view, the Lions will aim to continue its growth in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. It won’t be easy this season as teams will be analysing us closer than before. They will target every detail, which will make things very difficult. But we are up for this massive challenge.

    “An important thing for us is to establish a culture of success and pass that on to the next generation of players coming through the structures. We want to develop a proud brand of rugby at the Lions.”

    For more exclusive player content, check out

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    04 August 2018
    28 July 2018
    21 July 2018
    20 July 2018
    14 July 2018
    13 July 2018
    07 July 2018
    06 July 2018
    30 June 2018
    29 June 2018
    03 June 2018
    02 June 2018
    01 June 2018
    26 May 2018
    25 May 2018
    19 May 2018
    18 May 2018
    12 May 2018
    11 May 2018
    05 May 2018
    04 May 2018
    28 April 2018
    27 April 2018
    22 April 2018
    21 April 2018
    20 April 2018
    14 April 2018
    13 April 2018
    07 April 2018
    06 April 2018
    01 April 2018
    31 March 2018
    30 March 2018
    24 March 2018
    23 March 2018
    18 March 2018
    17 March 2018
    16 March 2018
    10 March 2018
    09 March 2018
    03 March 2018
    02 March 2018
    24 February 2018
    23 February 2018
    17 February 2018


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Lions (Q)
    • Jaguares (wc)
    • Sharks (wc)
    • Stormers
    • Bulls

    Opinion Poll

    Who will win the 2018 Rugby Championships?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.