Lions heed Stormers’ advice

Lions coach Johan Ackermann says he has received some insights from the Stormers ahead of Friday's pre-season game against the Jaguares at Wits, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

They are set to go head to head in a final friendly at Wits, with the Stormers having come up against the Argentinian side last weekend. As one of the newcomers to Super Rugby, the Jaguares are a relatively unknown entity, but they have been widely acknowledged as an unpredictable and dangerous opponent.

Last Saturday, the Stormers clinched an unconvincing 29-14 victory over the Jaguares in an error-strewn pre-season match at Newlands, but it was notable that the visitors embraced an approach that saw them run the ball back from all parts of the field.

However, they also tended to cough up possession as they displayed some signs of early-season rustiness, and the Stormers were ultimately able to make them pay.

For Friday’s match, the Jaguares have made seven changes to their starting lineup, six of them to the pack, and it will be interesting to see if they adopt a more balanced approach against the Lions.

Ackermann, who has selected a youthful side, said he had engaged with his Stormers counterparts to gain a better understanding of what to expect from the Jaguares.

‘I’ve spoken to [Stormers director of rugby] Gert Smal and [coach] Robbie Fleck and I understand that this Argentinian side is a very good side that does everything at full pace.

‘All of them tap and all of them run and they are also strong in the tight phases. That is where we had problems against the Bulls last week, so we will have to improve on our lineouts, while we have to sharpen up on our defence and scrums. We will use a very basic game plan. The Jaguares are in the same group as us [in Super Rugby], so we will play them twice, and so that also means we don’t want to reveal too much.’

The Lions are set to open their Super Rugby campaign against the competition’s other newcomers, Japan’s Sunwolves, next Saturday, before heading to New Zealand to face the Chiefs and Highlanders. They will face the Jaguares on 21 May and again on 16 July.

Lions team to play Jaguares

Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis