Battered Lions sweating over Jantjies


Ackermann is likely to spend the next few days, as the Lions enjoy a bye, pondering why things went so horribly wrong for his team against the Hurricanes at Ellis Park on Saturday. The 50-17 defeat came in a performance that will go down as one of the worst by the Lions since Ackermann took charge of the team.

The first half, in particular, was especially poor by the Lions as they went down 36-5 at the break; a showing described by Ackermann as the “most disappointing 40 minutes of the season”.

“The biggest letdown is that we disappointed ourselves and the supporters,” said the Lions boss. “This result shows that we’re definitely not there yet, we’re far from being contenders. We must hope it was just one of those bad days at the office. The way we lost, the errors we made, was disappointing.”

The Lions were outscored seven tries to three for their third defeat of the season - all coming against New Zealand opposition. They also lost to the Highlanders and Crusaders and next face the Blues, after their bye weekend.

Ackermann, though, was full of praise for the Hurricanes, who dominated the breakdowns and were excellent in defence. “They got it spot on,” he said. “We put some good phases together, but they won several turnovers at key moments and took our possession away.

“We were given a blood nose and were humbled. I thought we played too individualistically at times so we’ll have to take a long hard look at ourselves as a group.It’s not the end of the world though. We’ve got enough talent to fight back and we still have a few home games. But it’s going to be a big test of character when we return to action in two weeks’ time.”

Ackermann said the bye this weekend was both good and bad for his team. “On the one hand I’d have liked to be playing again in seven days, to try get this result out of the system as quickly as possible; it’ not something we should take lightly. But then the week off will allow some of the guys with injuries to get back in time for our next game.”

The Lions will be hoping Jantjies, who left the field in the 55th minute with what looked like a knee injury, is fit enough to take on the Blues, while tighthead specialist Julian Redelinghuys will be in a race against time to be fit. Hooker Malcolm Marx should, however, return for that match.

“Malcolm was touch-go for this game and should be back, but we’ll have to see what the scans say about Elton. It looks like he’s damaged knee ligaments, but I don’t know how serious it is,” said the coach. “The Blues will be another big challenge for us. They’re very much like the Hurricanes ... they have a big pack and they’re physical, too, so I might have to think about freshening things up by bringing in some new players.” - The Star

Original source: Battered Lions sweating over Jantjies