Rugby 28.2.2014 10:30 am

Ackermann urges caution

FILE PICTURE: Warwick Tecklenburg of the MTN Lions during the Super Rugby Warm Up match between Southern Kings and Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on February 01, 2014 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Warwick Tecklenburg of the MTN Lions during the Super Rugby Warm Up match between Southern Kings and Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on February 01, 2014 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

The changes in the Bulls side won’t alter their focus and pre-game planning before the big Super Rugby Jukskei derby at Loftus tomorrow, believes Lions coach Johan Ackermann.

Ackermann, who made two injury-enforced changes to his unbeaten side yesterday, said the Bulls remain a force to be reckoned with despite their two consecutive defeats.

“I don’t think the expectations on the Lions should be too high, we haven’t achieved anything yet,” he said.

“But regardless who they choose, we made our plans earlier in the week before their side was even announced. The focus has been more on what we want to achieve in this game,” said Ackermann.

The Lions coach admitted though the Bulls might be under more pressure after suffering two defeats.

“They remain a quality side on paper, they are back at Loftus, so I believe with their couple of Springboks they should remain the favourites for this weekend,” he said.

Centre Alwyn Hollenbach (groin) was withdrawn yesterday after failing a fitness test, while flank Derick Minnie (cheekbone) was ruled out earlier in the week. They were replaced by JW Jonker and Warwick Tecklenburg – another two former Bulls – respectively.

In a positional change, former Bull Stefan Watermeyer will move back to inside centre to partner Jonker who will don the No 13 jersey.

“We decided to make the change after Alwyn told us he was still struggling with his groin, but it’s not nice to lose a player so late in the week,” said Ackermann. “But JW has been involved with us for some time, while Warwick is a player who always gives 100%.”

On the bench, loose forward Willie Britz makes his return after recovering from a hip injury, while former Bulls wing Courtnall Skosan is set for his debut from the bench.

 

 

 

 

 

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