Kriel: Players 'delighted' with Swys' appointment
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Lions flank Jaco Kriel - along with his teammate - fully supports the appointment of Zacharia Francois de Bruin as coach. Josh Isaacson reports.
The Lions confirmed on Tuesday that De Bruin will replace current coach Johan Ackermann - who is on his way to Gloucester in England - at the end of the 2017 season.
However, before his exit, the Johannesburg-based side will want to to give Ackermann the perfect send off with the play-off looming.
In the absence of regular captain Warren Whitely due to injury, Jaco Kriel will skipper the side for their clash against the Sharks on Saturday.
The flank stated that Ackermann's presence will definitely be missed, but looks forward to working with De Bruin.
"Definitely going to miss coach Akkies [Johan Ackermann]," Kriel told reporters.
"However, going forward I really think coach Swys is the man for the job. He knows the players, he knows the culture and he knows how everything works. He ticks all the right boxes," Kriel added.
Ackermann echoed Kriel's sentiments and praised his colleague De Bruin's coaching prowess. De Bruin joined the Lions in 2013 as an assistant coach and has guided the once relegated Super Rugby side to one of the best in the competition.
He reassured Lions supporters that De Bruin's knowledge of the team's culture will make the transition from coaches easier on the players.
"I’m very pleased with Swys' appointment," Ackermann said.
"We came a long way. I know how the players feel about him and it’s great that his going to be in charge.
"He was the assistant coach for a long time, so this is well deserved. He is experienced and most importantly he is part of the culture that we’ve built at the franchise.
"He knows how the players think and what how to get the best out of them," Ackermann added.
The Lions either host the New Zealand side Highlanders or fellow South Africans the Sharks in the quarter-finals - depending on Round 17 results.
By Josh Isaacson