Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
24 Jan 2014
7:30 am

Prep games a good match for Lions

Rudolph Jacobs

The trends that Lions coach Johan Ackermann picked up last season in Super Rugby could be key ingredients in the two trial matches he has scheduled for his charges in Kempton Park today.

CJ van der Linde of the Lions during the Absa Currie Cup match between The Sharks and MTN Golden Lions at Growthpoint Kings Park on August 16, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

The Lions pre-season games against the Leopards were suddenly moved to the Barnard Stadium yesterday, because the Ellis Park pitch is not ready yet.

“In the first game we play against what is basically the Leopards’ Vodacom Cup side, while in the second game we are up against what is in essence the Pukke’s Varsity Cup side, coached by (former Springbok) Robert du Preez.It should be a good challenge,” said Ackermann.

While the Lions didn’t play Super Rugby last year Ackermann kept a close eye on new innovations during the competition.

“What I saw was that teams who defended well were fairly successful, while the Cheetahs showed how effective it could be to hold the maul up. We’ve also seen a lot of kicking not just by our sides, but New Zealand sides as well,” he said.

“What I want my players to do is to adapt quickly to the way opposition play, but they also shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. The style we played in the Currie Cup won’t change much … maybe a few additions and alterations.”

While the Lions players in the first game are loaded with Pumas and Leopards, it will give Ackermann an opportunity to spread his net wider.

“It also give me an opportunity to have a closer look at some of the Pumas, while somebody like centre JW Jonker said he is excited to be in Johannesburg. He is experienced, a former Pumas captain, and could give us more depth in the midfield,” he said.

Tonight’s matches are scheduled for 5pm and 7pm.