LIVE

    Lions will need 'to fight to the end'

    2017-08-02 14:00

    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes his side will have to “fight to the end” if they are to lift this year’s Super Rugby title.

    According to the SuperSport website, Ackermann’s side face off with seven-time champions the Crusaders on Saturday in the final of the tournament and will face a real challenge against the other form team of the competition.

    The Lions coach, who is also in his last game at the union, believes his team will face a totally new challenge, and won’t be able to rely on the knowledge from their two clashes in 2016 when it comes this this weekend.

    Still, Ackermann forsees a massive battle ahead with the best New Zealand side in the competition.

    “Like I said in the week regarding us and the Hurricanes, both sides have changed, both sides have probably developed a little more in certain areas. They are definitely a quality side, they have shown it this whole season and their background and history is all quality,” Ackermann said.

    “It will boil down to 80 minutes. Again to go back to last year and to refer back to anything will not help us. We have to reset, we haven’t achieved anything yet, we haven’t got a trophy or anything. The challenge for us now is to train well, to obviously enjoy the victory but to start again, reset and know that here is a side that will also fight until the end, who also wants the title.”

    Ackermann acknowledged that the earlier start helped them against the Hurricanes and this week’s 4pm kickoff might take that edge off the altitude a bit.

    Still, he knows that his team can’t afford a start like they had against the Hurricanes and will need to adapt quicker if they are to meet the expectations of the capacity 62 000 crowd on the day.

    “The players will probably give you feedback on how they felt. We felt towards the end of the first half they were more tired than us, so that’s why I’d love to play 1pm, but anyhow. The reality is that they had the linespeed, but the players were so direct that at some stage they couldn’t keep up, they couldn’t get off the line because we were in their faces,” he said.

    “The alteration came in the second half. Again, we can only play what is in front of us, we must be able to adapt, and last year we did it well until the final, and obviously there was extreme weather conditions but again we can analyse the Crusaders as much as we want to, we know they are going to be physical, we know they are going to be in our faces defensively.

    “It is for us to be in their faces and to adapt if your plan doesn’t work. We started like a house on fire, and our plan worked perfectly, and then it was two moments that gave us a body blow and we had to recover from those tries they scored. The players showed a lot of composure”

    The full house signs and the hype in the New Zealand media trying to pressurise Jaco Peyper ahead of the game has already shown how high the stakes are at the moment.

    The Lions will need to disregard the hype and emotion and “fight to the end” if they are to give Ackermann the sendoff he deserves.

    Read the full story on SuperSport

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Breaking News

    Fixtures

    Saturday, 25 May 2019
    • Stormers v Highlanders, Cape Town 15:05
    • Sharks v Lions, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15
    Friday, 31 May 2019
    • Blues v Bulls, Eden Park 09:35
    • Rebels v Waratahs, AAMI Park 11:45
    Saturday, 01 June 2019
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium 07:15
    • Chiefs v Crusaders, ANZ National Stadium 09:35
    • Reds v Jaguares, Suncorp Stadium 11:45
    • Sharks v Hurricanes, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 15:05
    • Lions v Stormers, Emirates Airline Park 17:15

    Results

    25 May 2019
    24 May 2019
    18 May 2019
    17 May 2019
    12 May 2019
    11 May 2019
    10 May 2019
    04 May 2019
    03 May 2019
    27 April 2019
    26 April 2019
    20 April 2019
    19 April 2019
    13 April 2019
    12 April 2019
    06 April 2019
    05 April 2019
    30 March 2019
    29 March 2019
    24 March 2019
    23 March 2019
    22 March 2019
    16 March 2019
    15 March 2019
    09 March 2019
    08 March 2019
    02 March 2019
    01 March 2019
    23 February 2019
    22 February 2019
    16 February 2019
    15 February 2019

    Logs

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

    Opinion Poll

    Which of the 4 South African team will finish with the fewest Super Rugby SA Conference points?

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

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