Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
22 Feb 2014
8:00 am

Focused Lions ‘have a chance’

Rudolph Jacobs

The spirit in the Lions' Super Rugby camp might be high, but their win last weekend against the Cheetahs might just be put into perspective by the Springbok-laden Stormers at Ellis Park tonight.

Warren Whiteley during a Lions training session at the Johannesburg Stadium. Picture: Gallo Images

If the Lions pass this test, their rise under coach Johan Ackermann will have to be taken a lot more seriously, but the class that the Capetonians bring to Ellis Park will definitely test them to the limit.

One just senses this won’t come down to just a kicking duel between Marnitz Boshoff and Demetri Catrakilis.

Ackermann has acknowledged the Stormers have plenty of striking power but also put faith in his charges to pull off another surprise win on condition they stay focused and put pressure on the Stormers’ tight phases.

“The Stormers are a side that are also a bit unsettled at the moment, with a few youngsters coming through, but they remain a quality outfit,” said Ackermann.

“As part of the training group they are on the same sheet with the same defensive coach (Jacques Nienaber), while Springboks like Jean de Villiers and Duane Vermeulen ensure they remain a quality side,” said the Lions coach.

The two youngsters who will be under the spotlight are outside centre Michael van der Spuy and right wing Kobus van Wyk, but they have so much quality around them which would make their job that much easier.

The Lions, on the other hand, have put big emphasis on the first phases like scrums, lineouts and kick-offs, but it’s at the rucks where flanker Derick Minnie could be the one player to frustrate the visitors.

It’s also doubtful whether the Stormers would allow so much ball to be turned over as in the Cheetahs’ match last week, while their defence has been superb.

Kick-off is at 7.10pm.