Ackermann, the bet and the beard
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Lions coach Johan Ackermann spoke to Jan de Koning about the bet he lost and the beard that followed.
Ackermann has faith in his players, but he did not expect to start looking like Santa Claus as a result of a bet he entered into.
Many have wondered why the usually well-groomed Lions mentor stopped shaving.
He has previously made mention of the 'bet' he lost, but never really provided much detail.
Ackermann - speaking ahead of the Lions' final Super Rugby league match of the season, when they face the Sharks in Durban on Saturday - said it started early in the season.
The players challenged him to only shave his beard when they lose a match.
And the only loss was to the Jaguares in Round Three, on March 11.
Eleven wins, two byes and a June break later and Ackermann is still growing his facial hair.
"Hopefully we go all the way," he told rugby365, adding: "I won't mind [keeping] the long beard and the players derive pleasure from that.
"I told them: 'You are spoiling your own pictures, having me in there.'
"They are happy they took the bet.
"However, I never expected that, after our loss [against the Jaguares] in Round Three, it would last till now."
By Jan de Koning