Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
29 Jul 2016
2:26 pm

Lions have been ready… since Monday

Rudolph Jacobs

Lions coach Johan Ackermann gave the assurance that his players are ready to go.

The Lions are not only ready for Saturday’s Super Rugby semifinal at Ellis Park against the Highlanders – they have been ready since Monday.

Against the uncompromising visitors, however, they could be confined to play a more physical game than their usual wide approach which have won so many fans the last few months.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann however gave the assurance the players were ready to go.

“The players were ready to go since Monday, there were no questions asked, nothing, that’s the nice thing about this group.

“We sent the routine out on Sunday evening and there’s no doubts or reasons why this or why that, the routine is a carbon copy of week one, it’s exactly the same, we haven’t changed anything, keep it simple, to change it now or to train less or more it’s not going to help, in my opinion.

“And the players are familiar with what time they can book stuff, where they got off, why change it now, if it was a round-robin game it would also have stayed the same.”

Back-to-back playoff challenges tested the Lions to their limits and yet another Kiwi side could await them in the final, if they can slug it out against the very intense Highlanders.

“Everything worked out as it should, I believe, and the fact that we had to play a NZ team in the quarterfinal was a great challenge for us.

“The funny thing about this competition is that you can’t rely on anything that happened before, you have to reset and start all over. The Highlanders definitely play different to the Crusaders, they have got quality outside backs and an excellent kicking game.

“So suddenly you have to be up for it again, the last time we played them they scored a quick try from a short lineout, so you have to be on alert the whole time.

“But it does give you confidence playing a quality side like the Crusaders and be on the winning side, it’s another side who we lost against in the round-robin, so we can’t take anything for granted and they are the defending champions, and there’s a lot of quality players in there.”