Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
21 Mar 2014
9:30 am

‘Fans have high expectations’

Rudolph Jacobs

'We certainly don't want to put ourselves in a situation where we say we face a must-win situation every week."

Johan Ackermann. Picture: Gallo Images

This was coach Johan Ackermann’s reaction yesterday as he stressed the Lions are still a work in progress, and tomorrow’s Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park against the Reds is hopefully another step in the right direction.

While they have surprised many with three wins in five starts, Ackermann said it was daring fate to predict they should expect to beat the dangerous Reds.

“I think it’s only our own supporters who have such high expectations, but not so among other people out there.

“Even last week against the Blues few expected us to win,” he said yesterday.

“For us it’s not only about winning or losing, but more about the process.”

Ackermann made just one change to his starting line-up, with hooker Willie Wepener named in place of the injured Robbie Coetzee, who is out for six weeks with a knee injury.

“It’s unfortunate for Robbie,” Ackermann said. “He was in form and has played exceptional from our first game, fortunately in Willie, we have an experienced campaigner.

“Unfortunately the next guy in line, Malcolm Marx, also got injured (hand, three weeks) as he would have played, but now it gives Mark Pretorius, who has played in the Under-21 World Cup, a chance.”

Another promising junior, Stephan de Wit, will also look to earn his first Super Rugby cap off the bench after flank Warwick Tecklenburg failed a concussion test.

Centre Lionel Mapoe has recovered from the hamstring strain which he picked up in the opening game against the Cheetahs and will also provide cover on the bench.

Meanwhile, Elton Jantjies, Michael Bondesio, Alwyn Hollenbach and Andries Coetzee have been included in the Vodacom Cup team to face the Blue Bulls.