Ackermann : Lions were hungry for the win

Lions coach Johan Ackerman says that their 32-21 Super Rugby victory had been driven by the players wanting to show that they were better than the results they achieved on tour.

The Lions went through their tour of Australasia without a win and their losing streak had stretched to seven matches.

In 2012 the Lions finished the year with three victories in Super Rugby but their win over the Bulls was their fifth for 2014.

The Lions are optmistic about their future in Super Rugby as the victory showcased the character of the team and the bright future that lies ahead of them now that they have guaranteed Super Rugby.

“The boys are obviously glad to be home and they showed a lot of passion tonight. They were really hungry for the win because we felt we played better than our results overseas,” coach Johan Ackermann said.

“It makes me proud that the team never gives up, they train as if they are a winning team and I can’t fault the effort the last few weeks. It’s nice to get the reward.

Ackermann pointed out that they still needed to be sharper in areas of their game.

“We weren’t accurate in everything tonight, we lost a lot of lineouts, but we’ve learnt how to get out of our half and when to run the ball.

“The scrums were good and it was a big step up for Ruan Dreyer and Charles Marais after the late withdrawal of Julian Redelinghuys.

“The team fixed things well out on the field tonight and they worked hard for each other on defence.”

Lions captain Warren Whiteley was happy his team had shown how much they learnt on tour.

“We’ve shown how much we’ve grown, our brotherhood and our passion. We learnt valuable lessons on tour and we’ve got processes in place to stay calm, just think of the next task and stick to the game plan. I’m really proud of the effort,” Whiteley said.

The Lions’ defence was another standout area on the night, with an 89% tackle success rate compared to the Bulls’ 81%.

“Defence is something that epitomises us as a team, we pride ourselves on it. You can see our character and heart in it, the two try-saving tackles in the corner are one of those small margins that matter so much in Super Rugby,” Whiteley said.

The Lions have climbed off the bottom of the log into 13th place and finish their campaign with home matches against the Melbourne Rebels and Cheetahs.

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