Lions hooked on success

Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:18
Large callie visagie bulls Large martin bezuidenhout stormer Large callievisagelions2 Large martin bezuidenhout lions

The Lions may not have the services of hooker Callie Visagie for their two-match series with the Kings, but coach Johan Ackermann is not perturbed.

The Lions may not have the services of hooker Callie Visagie for the first round of their two-match series with the Southern Kings, but coach Johan Ackermann is not perturbed.

Visagie has remained with the Bulls ahead of their Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Brumbies in Pretoria on Saturday.

The blow, as result of Visagie's absence, has been soften considerably by the return of Martin Bezuidenhout from the Stormers - as well as the great form of young stay-at-home hookers Robbie Coetzee and Francois du Toit.

Ackermann, speaking to this website ahead of the first of the two promotion-relegation matches in Port Elizabeth on Friday, said Visagie will be involved with the Bulls this week and possibly next week it the men from Pretoria advance to the Super Rugby Final.

That means the Lions have only three of their loan players returning for their own play-off series - in PE this week (July 26) and Johannesburg next Saturday (August 3).

Franco van der Merwe (back from the Sharks), Elton Jantjies and Martin Bezuidenhout (both from the Stormers) have been training with the Lions since last Monday.

"The agreement between the CEO's was that if a team reaches the play-offs, the loan players stay on," Ackermann said about Visagie's extended stay in Pretoria.

"We've been told he will be involved in the semifinal [between the Bulls and the Brumbies] at the weekend."

However, the Lions mentor is happy with the quality of the stock he has in his squad.

"I think Bez [Bezuidenhout] brings lots of experience back [from the Stormers] and it should soften the blow," the coach said, adding: "Obviously Callie [Visagie] had a great season with us last year.

"It is a tough one - Swys [Francois du Toit] and Robbie [Coetzee] both played very good rugby and now we have Bez back.

"It would be difficult to say how much of a setback [his absence is] or impact Callie [Visagie] would have made.

"I am just thankful that we have three very good hookers to choose from."

Meanwhile Ackermann confirmed that ace scrumhalf Michael Bondesio took a blow to the knee as is a doubtful starter.

"We are waiting to see if he will be fit," the coach said, adding that all the other players are ready to go.

Previously injured players like Jaco Kriel, Derrick Minnie, Warren Whiteley and Alwyn Hollenbach have all recovered.

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9