• Lions to keep on attacking

    Coach Johan Ackermann says the Golden Lions will not alter their ambitious approach in Saturday’s final against Western Province, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Joburg.

    The undefeated Lions have been a class apart on attack this season, running in 52 tries during the league stage, while racking up a total 430 points.

    Although the Lions were far from their best in last Saturday’s semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs, they still scored three tries, and were awarded a penalty try on their way to a 44-33 victory.

    Despite the high-pressure nature of a title decider, Ackermann insisted there was no need for the players to move away from a style of play that had got them this far.

    ‘The whole season we’ve done certain things well, and it’s looked very good at times. We can’t afford to adopt any new strategy [just because it’s a final] and expect players to play differently. We trust the players to perform within our structures, but within our structures there is freedom. They must play what they see, we don’t want to put players into boxes, that’s not fair to their talent. On the day, it’s just about making the correct decisions.’

    Ackermann said their preparation and planning had also remained unchanged this week.

    ‘We’ve done our exact same routines. Our meetings, training, gym sessions, it’s all been the same. We’ve limited our time on the field a little bit, but not that much. We’re staying in the process of what we’ve done for the past 11 weeks, and we don’t want to change anything in our approach.’

    The Lions coach has made three unforced changes to the side from last weekend’s semi-final, with hooker Robbie Coetzee, flank Kwagga Smith and centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg coming into the starting lineup.

    ‘We've rotated players throughout the season, but for the specific roles they can perform, we’ve backed them to start this Saturday. They’re exciting players, and now they’ll have an opportunity to show what they can do from the start.’

    Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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    Craig Lewis