Lions ponder the 'PE leveller'
INTERVIEW: The Golden Lions are expecting a vicious backlash from the Eastern Province Kings when the two sides meet in Port Elizabeth.
The Golden Lions are expecting a vicious backlash from the Eastern Province Kings when the two sides meet in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking with rugby365 ahead of his team's trip for this Round Four Currie Cup encounter, said they can't afford to underestimate the winless Kings - despite putting 60 points past the men from PE just a fortnight ago.
"There will be a few significant differences," the Lions mentor said, when asked about the encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
"Firstly, we are travelling and will have to play in conditions they are more familiar with.
"We all know that at night, and this is a seven-'o-clock [19.00] kick-off, there will be a lot more moisture around.
"That will be a leveller," he added.
Ackermann also felt that the kings will, in their build-up, make reference to the encounter at Ellis Park a fortnight ago.
"It would be natural for them to use that [19-60 defeat] as motivation," he said, adding: "It is probably not what any team would like to hear, but once you lose three [games] in a row [as the Kings have], desperation starts to creep in.
"There is no doubt we will be up against a very desperate team that will throw everything at us.
"We should not, for one moment, be under the illusion we can just rock up [in PE] because we had a big win two weeks ago - that would be a major mistake."
The Lions coach also felt last week's 14-27 loss to against Western Province would have been a timely wake-up call, although it would not have done too much damage to their self-confidence.
"In our video review the players realised we were in the contest for most of the game [at Newlands] and that we conceded two dumb tries," Ackermann told rugby365.
"We must give credit to WP, they are very good, but we were not that bad that we should begin to have any doubts [about our abilities].
"The important fact is, the players realised you can't coast on the back of a previous win [against the Kings] and maybe, subconsciously, the players were over-confident against WP.
"We certainly learnt a valuable lesson and I feel Saturday we'll be up for whatever the Kings throw at us."
By Jan de Koning