Ackermann: Lions lucky to beat Sharks

Lions coach Johan Ackermann says he had some 'grey-hair moments' during his side's Super Rugby quarter-final against the Sharks at Ellis Park.

The Lions needed a late 55m penalty from Ruan Combrinck to snatch a 23-21 win and extend their coach's time at the franchise by at least another week.

'There were a lot of grey-hair moments and I was thinking, “This can't be the way I am going to end my time with the Lions,”' said Ackermann, who will join Gloucester after Super Rugby.

'We'll take it, but credit to the Sharks. They put us under a lot of pressure. But we also put ourselves on the back foot. At half-time I told the players to lift the intensity and play wider.

'Our decision-making wasn't the best. Hopefully, we can improve that for next weekend. There were opportunities to run and we still kicked sometimes. We must finish those opportunities.

'The whole 80 minutes wasn't good enough. We were lucky to get away with the victory. We have to be better.'

The Lions will now face the Hurricanes, who they lost to in last year's final, in next Saturday's semi-final at Ellis Park. 

'I haven't even thought about that,' Ackermann said when asked if the match would give his side a chance to gain some revenge. 'Today was just about getting through to the next round.'

Photo: Anne Laing

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Simon Borchardt