Ackermann proud of SA A performance

South Africa A coach Johan Ackermann was pleased with the way his side responded to being reduced to 14 men at Orlando Stadium.

Lock Ruan Botha was red-carded at the end of the first half of the match against the French Barbarians on Friday night. However, the hosts went into the break with a 24-14 lead, and ended up claiming a comfortable 48-28 win to clinch the series 2-0.

'The red card was a setback, but the way the guys responded made me very proud,' said Ackermann. 'We had to adjust and Jason Jenkins did excellently in calling the lineouts. Overall, it was a much better performance than last week and for that, credit must go to the whole group. We had much better fluency in attack. We did lose some balls in contact, but that happens.'

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Ackermann highlighted some of the tries his team scored and lauded the captaincy of Francois Venter.

'We scored a couple of really brilliant tries, but it was hard work breaking down the French,' said the coach. 'Francois has proven himself as a leader and captain and that showed again tonight. He kept the scoreboard ticking with kicking penalties.'

Ackermann also endorsed the A-team concept. He coached the side in 2016 as well, against the English Saxons.

'It was very pleasing to see how the team has grown in two weeks and how they progressed,' said Ackermann. 'I’ve always known we have the talent and depth here in South Africa. Some of the players showed tonight that they would not let the Springboks down and are all capable of going to the next step.'

Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images

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Simon Borchardt