Ackermann praises Lions for defence in Currie Cup

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann has lauded his side for their defence in the dying minutes of their 38-32 victory over Griquas in a Currie Cup match in Kimberley on Saturday.

The Johannesburg side kept a motivated Griquas side at bay and now find themselves in third place on the points table, behind the Sharks and Western Province.

But it was a nail-biting affair, according to Ackermann, one that the Lions won not by scoring six tries, but by preventing the hosts from doing the same.

“In the dying minutes we were put under immense pressure by Griquas,” Ackermann said after the game.

“We got the yellow card and they tried to capitalise on that. I think we did extremely well to keep them from crossing our goal line.

“We were one man short, but we showed good character to prevent them from scoring a try that would have left us with the loss.”

Nine minutes from the end, Lions winger Anthony Volmink was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Griquas flyhalf Francois Brummer.

That left the visitors a man short in defence, but Ackermann’s side dug deep and prevented a determined Griquas side from snatching the game in the dying seconds.

The Lions scored six tries on the day and took maximum points back to Johannesburg, helping them take some much needed momentum into their next fixture — against the Cheetahs on Friday.

“We knew that it was never going to be easy to beat Griquas in Kimberley,” Ackermann added.

“We lost to them here (Kimberley) last year, so we were well aware of the challenge that they would pose. But we did well. We got the five points and that will definitely be logged as one of the positives of the game.”

The Cheetahs would pose another formidable threat after they lost to the Blue Bulls in Pretoria, and Ackermann admitted the Lions still had plenty of work to be done before next weekend’s game.

“We still need to work on our defence as a whole. We score tries only to let our opposition come back to score five pointers of their own,” he said.

“We will work on that this week. We know that the Cheetahs possess a good plan of attack and we will have to be at our very best on Friday.”

Griquas have now lost four games in succession and need to pick up the pieces this week before they host the Sharks next Saturday in Kimberley.

Although there were many positives, Griquas coach Pote Human believes his side is struggling to adapt in the midst of all the disruptions due to injuries.

“We were disrupted by the absence of a couple of stalwarts, but we need to lift our heads and work towards the game against the Sharks,” Human said.

“We did a couple of things well against the Lions, and we did a couple of things poorly. I thought we defended well, but we gave away too many penalties, especially the break down areas.

“We allowed the Lions to play from our mistakes and they capitalised on them. In the end, it is very disappointing for us.”

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