Rugby 26.2.2014 08:45 am

Lions restored as Jozi’s Pride

Johan Ackermann. Picture: Gallo Images

Johan Ackermann. Picture: Gallo Images

As a former Bulls lock, Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows very well how much the Bulls will be hurting at the moment.

While the Lions are the talk of the town after two straight Super Rugby wins against all odds, the Bulls have slumped to straight losses in Durban and Bloemfontein and could be extremely dangerous come Saturday evening.

It’s almost unreal that a Lions team would be heading to Loftus as the clear-cut favourites, and eyeing a historic third straight win which could propel them to the top of both the South African and the overall conferences as the Sharks have a bye.

But the Lions will also be well aware that their last game in 2012 before being booted out of the competition, was at Loftus where they were comprehensively beaten 37-20.

“After the Bulls lost their opening two games, this Saturday’s game is a must-win encounter for them,” said Ackermann.

“It’s also their first home game at Loftus so we will have to prepare well,” said the Lions coach who has reserved accolades for restoring the pride to Joburg.

Ackermann, a former police officer, made his provincial debut for the Blue Bulls back in 1995 at 25 after which he also turned out for Griquas, the Lions and the Sharks and played in 11 Tests for the Springboks.

Ackermann confirmed yesterday that flanker Derick Minnie would miss the next few games after fracturing a cheekbone against the Stormers last weekend and will be out of action for between three and six weeks.

It is also rumoured that flyhalf Elton Jantjies will not yet return to the side despite playing off the bench for the Vodacom Cup side.

He could be earmarked for next weekend’s Sharks game in Durban instead.

“Rotation always helps as it keeps the players fresh, while we weekly discuss the players individually,” Ackermann said.

 

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