Ackermann’s Lions not resting on their laurels

Date published: February 9 2016

Despite the success of last year's Super Rugby season, Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes the team now needs to work harder than ever.

The Lions won nine out of 16 games and were just one win away from topping the South African Conference and booking their place in the playoffs.

The players took their form into the South African domestic rugby season, where they went undefeated on their way to their 11th Currie Cup title.

While the Lions expansive game plan is finally yielding results, Ackermann is adamant his charges cannot drop their guard. 

"With winning there is always a price tag," the former Springbok lock told Supersport.

"In Super Rugby everyone always wants to beat teams like the Crusaders and the Chiefs. Everyone also wants to beat the South African team that is at the top.

"But for us, we have closed the door on last year, last year's success will mean nothing this year. We remember that in 2011 we won the Currie Cup, and in 2012 we had a bad year in Super Rugby. So there are dangers that you want to ride on that success. I hope that the players realise that we have to work harder than ever.

"Also, we don't have all those Springboks or names on paper, but I think the teams will respect us a little more this year, analyse us a little more and prepare better, so it will definitely be a big challenge.

"We're not going to put pressure on ourselves to achieve big things, we will prepare properly for every game and give our all for every challenge."

The Lions open their 2016 Super Rugby account on February 27 with a trip to Tokyo, where they face the Sunwolves.