Planet Rugby

Lions boss hails youngsters

16th February 2014 09:31

Share:

PARK marnitz boshoff lions

All 21 points: Marnitz Boshoff

Lions coach Johan Ackermann has lauded his young, inexperienced side after their 21-10 victory over the Cheetahs in the first Super Rugby game of the season at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Travelling with six debutantes in their starting line-up and 11 in total in the matchday 23, few backed the visitors for an upset.

But Ackermann's charges stuck together and showed that an absence of Super Rugby caps would not necessarily doom the side against an experienced outfit like the Cheetahs.

Although the hosts scored the only tries of the game, it was a high penalty count and the kicking boot of Lions fly-half Marnitz Boshoff that eventually sank the Cheetahs. Boshoff kicked six penalties and a match winning drop goal to make sure his side was in second place in the South African conference.

"I really don't know what to say. I am at a loss for words. I am just so proud of the guys that stuck in there to give us the victory," said Ackermann.

"This is a huge boost for us confidence wise and we will take much momentum from this for our next game against the Stormers next weekend,"

It wasn't a championship-winning performance, with the Lions having many troubles in the scrums. The visitors got pinned regularly by referee Craig Joubert, but after half time it seemed their understanding of the referee's interpretation at scrum time was much better.

The Lions turned over much possession, another positive they would build on for next weekend.

"We struggled in the scrums, but as soon as we understood what Craig wanted, it went a whole lot better. We also turned over some good possession. We are lucky that we have guys like Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie who all play to the ball. That makes the world of difference," added Ackermann.

Lions captain Whiteley in turn lauded fly-half Boshoff for his kicking performance, adding that the last minute drop goal was one that the Johannesburg side practised.

"All credit must go to Marnitz. He dropped back and slotted the drop goal. It was something we worked on during the week and we even got it wrong a couple of times. Luckily it worked when it was needed," said Whiteley.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was understandably unhappy. His side dominated most of the game on the defence and attack. In the end, ill discipline cost them the match.

"I am very disappointed, there is no getting around it. This was one of our worst performances to date. We had so many chances to score tries, but we never capitalised on it. It was very frustrating," said Drotske.

"I never once felt that the Lions threatened our goal line and yet we couldn't manage to beat them. What is needed is a huge mind shift by the players before we take on the Bulls this Friday in Bloemfontein," he said.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs Crusaders19:40
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00