Lions are ‘ready’ to defend title
07 August 2012 | RUDOLPH JACOBS
JOHANNESBURG - Ackermann, still the caretaker coach while the fate of suspended coach John Mitchell is determined, announced a squad of 31 players yesterday for the competition.
While the coach will announce his squad today for the opening game at home this weekend against the Cheetahs, there are some notable omissions.
“I am proud to announce our Absa Currie Cup squad for 2012,” said Ackermann.
“It includes some of our injured players who will return during the campaign,” he said.
While prop JC Janse van Rensburg has been confirmed as captain, taking over from Josh Strauss, they have to find replacements for flyhalf Elton Jantjies and prop Pat Cilliers, who are with the Springbok squad.
Players still making their way back from injury include centre Jaco Taute, prop CJ van der Linde, centre Alwyn Hollenbach and fullback James Kamana.
Lock Franco van der Merwe is also on standby for the Bok side after a hip injury to Eben Etzebeth.
But Ackermann believes they have adequate manpower to stand their ground in the competition which has been reduced to six teams this year.
“We look forward to the season and trust that we will play a good brand of rugby that will make our supporters proud,” Ackermann said.
The two most notable acquisitions are wing Deon Helberg from the Blue Bulls and Pretoria University, and flank Willie Britz from the Griffons.
They have lost Baby Bok lock Paul Willemse and flank Grant Hattingh to the Blue Bulls, while lock Wikus van Heerden and flank Michael Rhodes are still suffering from long-term knee injuries.
Ackermann confirmed that the defending cup champions have been training hard over the past few weeks and are looking forward to the competition kicking off.
“Training has been going well and morale is at a high within the camp,” Ackermann said. “There are also some players coming back into training who can work themselves back into the squad.”
The Lions will also be keen to keep a watchful eye on Newlands where Western Province host the Sharks, as the Lions will travel to Durban next weekend for their second game in the competition.
n In the absence of former assistant coach Carlos Spencer, who has been relieved of his duties, Deon Davids will act as interim backline coach.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN
looklocal Pretoria Moot
looklocal Pretoria East
looklocal Randfontein Westonaria
looklocal Rosebank Killarney
looklocal Eastern Highveld