More than a win for Lions

Sun, 16 Feb 2014 09:49
Large boshoff cheetahs630

Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows that his young team's victory over the Cheetahs was worth more than just the four log points.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows that his young team's gritty victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein was worth more than just the four log points.

The Johannesburg side made an ideal return to Super Rugby, with a late drop-goal from flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff giving them a dramatic 21-20 victory over the home side.

Travelling with six debutantes in their starting line up and 11 in total in the match day 23, few backed the visitors for an upset.

But Ackermann's charges stuck together and showed that an absence of Super Rugby caps did not necessarily doom a side against an experienced outfit like the Cheetahs.

Although the hosts scored the only tries of the game, it was a high penalty count and the kicking boot of Boshoff that eventually sank the Cheetahs. Boshoff kicked six penalties along with the match-winning drop goal to make sure his side was in second place in the South African conference.

Ackermann said that the win will give them valuable confidence and momentum as they look to build on this start.

“I really don't know what to say. I am at a loss for words. I am just so proud of the guys that stuck in there to give us the victory. This is a huge boost for us confidence wise and we will take much momentum from this for our next game against the Stormers next weekend,” Ackermann said.

It wasn't a series winning performance, with the Lions having much trouble in the scrums. The visitors got pinned regularly by referee Craig Joubert, but after half time it seemed their understanding of the referee's interpretation at scrum-time was much better.

The Lions turned over much possession, another positive they would build on for next weekend.

“We struggled in the scrums, but as soon as we understood what Craig wanted, it went a whole lot better. We also turned over some good possession. We are lucky that we have guys like Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie who all play to the ball. That makes the world of difference,” said Ackermann.

Lions captain Whiteley in turn lauded Boshoff for his kicking performance, adding that the last minute drop-goal was one that the Johannesburg based side practised.

“All credit must go to Marnitz. He dropped back and slotted the drop-goal. It was something we worked on during the week and we even got it wrong a couple of times. Luckily it worked when it was needed,” Whiteley said.

SAPA

New Zealand vs B&I Lions
sast: 09h35 | local: 19h35

  • |
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 24 June 2017
Japan v Ireland 04h40 Tokyo
New Zealand v B&I Lions 07h35 Eden Park
South Africa v France 15h00 Johannesburg
Canada v United States 19h00 Calgary
Argentina v Georgia 19h15 Estadio Ciudad De La Plata
Tue, 27 June 2017
Hurricanes v B&I Lions 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Fri, 30 June 2017
Sharks v Bulls 17h00 Kings Park, Durban
Sat, 01 July 2017
Jaguares v Kings 23h05 Buenos Aires
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19