‘Being Boks won’t go to their heads’ – Ackermann

Date published: July 1 2016

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Lions head coach Johan Ackermann says that some of his players' recent Bok experience won't change anything for his side.

The Lions had six players in the matchday 23 that played Ireland in the last fixture of the series, all of whom were instrumental in the victory.

The former Springbok lock forward believes his players' modesty supports the team dynamic that Ackermann has cultivated at the franchise.

"We’re fortunate here – the character of the players is such that they, hopefully, won’t allow that to happen, that being Boks won’t go to their heads," Ackermann told Independent Online ahead of Saturday's game.

"They’re a humble bunch of players and the challenge for them is to remain that way. I trust they will still be hungry for success.

"I think they realise that without hard work nothing is possible and I’m sure they’ll continue to work hard and put the effort in.

"The players also know that Test caps mean nothing to me, I don’t care if someone has 50 caps or zero; if they don’t work hard on the field they won’t be selected."

So, the Lions boss expects his Boks to bring their A game now that they've been tested at the highest level.

"Every player on national duty would have experienced the pressure situations the Boks were in during the last month – and hopefully that rubs off on all the players, that those lessons and experiences can benefit the Lions now," he added.

"You just can’t buy new experiences, but being a Springbok also brings with it a certain responsibility and that is to perform at a consistently high level.

"It’s one thing becoming a Super Rugby player and a Springbok, it’s quite another maintaining that level.

"Everyone who comes up against these players from now on will want to measure themselves against them, against a Springbok. So the key for all the players is to keep that standard at the level that got them noticed in the first place."

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