Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
13 Jan 2015
3:41 pm

Lions step up a gear

Rudolph Jacobs

The Lions Super Rugby preparations for 2015 are gaining momentum.

FILE PICTURE: Johan Ackermann. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Head coach Johan Ackermann said they will step up a gear this week in training after regathering last week following the festive break.

They open their campaign at Ellis Park on February 13 against the Hurricanes from New Zealand, followed by playing the Sharks in Durban and the Stormers at Ellis Park before starting their away leg against the Blues on March 7.

Unlike previous years, the Lions will have seven Springboks on their books this year in flyhalves Marnitz Boshoff and Elton Jantjies, No 8 and captain Warren Whiteley, props Julian Redelinghuys and Ruan Dreyer, hooker Robbie Coetzee and flanker Jaco Kriel.

While Kriel and Coetzee were part of the Bok squad and Dreyer and scrumhalf Ross Cronje were late call-ups they remained uncapped.

“I think a lot of our players picked up valuable experience during last year’s tournament, so I remain carefully optimistic,” said Ackermann.

The Lions won seven of their 16 matches last season, the most for the franchise since 2006, while they also recorded historic wins against the Stormers and the Bulls.

Pumas like centre Stefan Watermeyer, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, lock Rudi Matthee and prop Corne Fourie will again prove to be valuable additions, but other Pumas like fullback Coenie van Wyk and wing JW Jonker have linked up with the Cheetahs.