Lions 'will live and die playing exciting rugby'

17 July 2017 - 08:21 By LIAM DEL CARME
Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann. File photo.
Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann. File photo.

The Lions have no time to bask in the glory of topping the Super Rugby points table.

Their coronation as league winners was confirmed with a 27-10 victory over the Sharks, but the match laid bare the need for some urgent revision before the knockout stages starting on Saturday with a rematch against the Sharks at Ellis Park.

"We have to improve massively," said coach Johan Ackermann. "I don't think we played with good enough intensity compared to other games played over the weekend. We have a lot of hard work to do if we want to go further."

It will of course raise questions about how the Lions are likely to perform if they meet New Zealand opposition.

While they improved towards the end, their set pieces were far from accurate, and the coach lamented his team's propensity for losing the ball in contact.

"It wasn't good enough. We have to look at the penalties we gave away at scrum time. There were also soft moments like the try we gave away.

"But I am very proud of the guys for being top of the log and being in the play-offs. It is now in our hands."

Although the Lions performed a league double over the Sharks this season, Ackermann warned that it would count for nothing this Saturday.

"Last year the Crusaders beat us in the league stages at Ellis Park, but then we replayed them in the quarterfinals and beat them. Our mindset will remain the same. We want to honour God for the talent he gave us and we want to score tries. The result will look after itself. We will live and die by playing an
exciting brand of rugby."

In the other quarterfinals the Brumbies host the Hurricanes, the Crusaders meet the Highlanders and the Stormers are at home to the Chiefs.