After winning their last title in 2011, when Akkers was the forward coach, the Lions lost a home semifinal to Western Province in 2012, an away semifinal to Province in 2013 and a away final to Province last year, it all came together with a commanding 32-24 win last weekend at Ellis Park over Province.
“I am just great greatful, for the team, the management, the staff members, everyone one that makes everything behind the team works,” said Ackermann.
“We were humbled on Saturday, a lot of things went through my mind before the game, where we were and how the team grew in the season, and to see the guys becoming men, how I care for them and how they care for each other, I just saw a group of guys that were not willing to lie down.
“You can take every single guy, from 1-22 and also the guys that didn’t even play last weekend, that had to fight where they are, and that makes it quite satisfactory that we got over last year’s hurdle and got that one step further, and the Currie Cup is in the change room.”
Even after flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff missed his first two penalties the team showed great composure, said Ackermann.
“We were quite confident, we didn’t panic, the team will back him, the last thing the players knew is that we are going to win by scoring tries, we are not going for a 9-6 or a 9-3 win, just stay positive and score tries, so we were not going to put pressure on Marnitz as a kicker, or to leave it to him to win the game for us.
“We had a plan and it worked for us, the space on the inside was the initiative of the players, the holes opened up and they recognised it, we trained it quite often but it never really came off as well as in the final.
“At times we did lose some patience like going for that one extra off-load, of another 50-50 pass, but that’s the thing with a final if you see that two, three opportunities you have to go for it, great to see the players maturing in that way.”