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Brenton Chelin

Turnover ball cost Lions


Lions coach Johan Ackermann Lions coach Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann says the Golden Lions need to improve at ruck time following their loss to Western Province, reports BRENTON CHELIN.

Despite dominating the possession and territorial stats, the Lions only managed one try against the ferocious Province defence. Having scored 15 tries in two matches heading into the game, Ackermann was disappointed with the performance.

'We need to look at our ball placement and our rucking, which wasn't up to it on Saturday,' the coach told SARugbymag.co.za. 'We didn't look after the ball in contact and gave up too many turnovers, and against a side of that quality, it cost us in the end.'

The Lions attack failed to make use of the ball, with question marks arising over the selection of Stokkies Hanekom at flyhalf. Jaco van der Walt will undergo a fitness test on Thursday before the team is announced, but should he fail to recover, Ackermann is likely to explore other options in the pivot position.

'Stokkies struggled at times with his kicking game, and there were one or two times when he could've passed but didn't. We know now what we have in Stokkies as a 10 and if necessary, maybe not this weekend, we will use him there again.'

The EP Kings lie in wait this weekend, a team that the Lions saw off comfortably a fortnight ago.

'They will use the loss against us at Ellis Park as motivation,' said Ackermann. 'They won't be the same team we faced at Ellis Park. They're desperate for a win and, playing in front of their home fans, I expect them to be much better.

'The loss against Province showed the players that we can't be complacent. Maybe the loss was a good thing for us. It's a bit of a relief in a way, because now everyone is saying that Province and the Sharks are the favourites and we can focus on our own game now.'

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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