Lions started second half at ‘0-0’

Lions coach Johan Ackermann told his team to start again during half-time of their semi-final against the Hurricanes.

The hosts scored a converted try just before the break but still trailed 22-10, having conceded three tries to the Super Rugby champions.

'I just told them to approach the second half as if the score was 0-0,' said Ackermann. 'I said to play direct rugby and the kind of game we are capable of. It was necessary for us to lift the intensity and that's what we did.'

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Ackermann, who will be joining Gloucester after Super Rugby, said he was glad that he would be able to say goodbye to the Lions after a home final.

'I want 60,000 spectators to come here to help us make our dream come true,' he said.

'It was incredible and amazing [to beat the Hurricanes]. But we have to remember that we have not achieved anything yet and still have no trophy to show for all our hard work. We must give everything in this last week to ensure that the hard work is rewarded with something tangible.

'I want to thank everyone for an incredible journey so far,' he added. 'In the second half, you could feel the energy of the spectators during our comeback attempt.'

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Meanwhile, Lions captain Jaco Kriel praised his side’s fighting spirit.

'This is the best feeling I have felt in a long time,' he said. 'To see character come out like that from a bunch of guys that care for each other … I don’t think I can explain the feeling of being on the field and being inspired by your own players like I was today.'

Photo: Kim Ludbrook/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt