Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
3 Jul 2017
9:13 am

Super Rugby: Roaring Lions lay down a massive marker

Rudolph Jacobs

Despite not concerning themselves with records, Johan Ackermann's troops show ominous intent in thrashing the hapless Sunwolves.

Kwagga Smith epitomised the Lions' drive. Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

The Lions are not concerned with records, but rather looking at the broader picture: winning the Super Rugby title.

Their massive 94-7 win over the Sunwolves at Ellis Park on Saturday was just two points short of the all-time highest score in the annual competition, achieved by the Crusaders in their 96-19 mauling of the Waratahs in 2002.

It was the Johannesburg team’s biggest Super Rugby win as they racked up their most tries in a match with a total of 14.

“We only heard afterwards we were just two points off the record when (wing) Courtnall Skosan was interviewed,” said Lions coach Johan Ackermann.

“But we just wanted to play positive rugby and score tries.

“To take off your first-choice flyhalf (Elton Jantjies) and play Faf (de Klerk) there and Kwagga (Smith) on the wing, and then take off all the guys who had a tough Test series, is a sign of the commitment of the side.”

Having been awarded the Africa Conference 2 trophy, Ackermann hoped it was a sign of their chances to lift the bigger gong which was still on offer.

“We are proud of the trophy, but nobody is going to remember that in a few weeks’ time or even a few years,” he said.

“They only remember the ones who lift the Super Rugby trophy.”

The Lions now have a bye before taking on the Sharks away from home ahead of the playoffs.

“Now the guys who must rest will and the guys who need to train will and come the Monday before the Sharks game everybody will be 100% physically,” Ackermann said.

“But before we can get there, there are some tough challenges lying ahead.’’

Lions captain Jaco Kriel admitted he was not even in the know when scrumhalf Faf de Klerk took the conversion of wing Ruan Combrinck’s hat-trick try.

“I was busy congratulating the team and I just saw Commies (Combrinck) looking at Faf to take it and I didn’t even know about it,” Kriel chuckled.

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