Ackermann: Early tries boosted Lions

Lions coach Johan Ackermann says a good start played a big part in his side's 42-25 quarter-final win against the Crusaders at Ellis Park.

Tries by Courtnall Skosan and Rohan Janse van Rensburg gave the Lions a 15-0 lead after eight minutes, with Crusaders captain Kieran Read admitting afterwards that it had put his team under scoreboard pressure and forced them to play catch-up.

'We started well and ended well, and the guys showed a lot of character to hang in during the times when the Crusaders placed severe pressure on us,' said Ackermann.

'Since we had usually been quickly on the back foot against the Crusaders in previous games, it was important to start well. And we did so with those two tries in the first few minutes.'

Ackermann also praised captain Warren Whiteley's decision to kick a penalty for the corner just before half-time when the Lions led 15-10, with Malcolm Marx scoring a crucial try from the lineout driving maul. Whiteley, though, didn't want the credit.

'It was a decision by the leadership of the team and not just mine alone,' he said. 'We felt we had the momentum on our side and that we could push for a try.'

Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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Simon Borchardt