Ricochet News

Lions aim for home semi-finals

Lions aim for home semi-finals

Xerox Golden Lions coach, Johan Ackermann, has said that he wants his team to win their home game against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for their final Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Ackermann has selected the strongest possible team for the clash, as they aim to defend their second place in the standings, after losing 26-23 against Cell C Sharks in Durban last weekend.

"It is kind of a knockout game for us because we want to play at home. The good thing is we don't have to score four tries," Ackermann said.

"It is also a bit of comfort to know we are in the semi-finals but we can make it much more difficult on ourselves if we have to play away from home."

The men from Johannesburg need only a victory to secure a home semi-final, but would need to travel if they were to loose.

After suffering two injury blows in the Shark tank, Ackermann has had to reshuffle the backline with Andries Coetzee replacing Marnitz Boshoff at flyhalf.

Howard Mnisi has taken over as centre from Stokkies Hanekom, after the latter fractured his fibula, rendering him unavailable for the remainder of the season.

Captain Warren Whiteley returns to the Lions, after playing for the Springboks in the recent Rugby Championship. He will take over the number 8 jersey at the expense of Willie Britz, who moved to the bench.

Derick Minnie will be starting as flanker in place of Warwick Tecklenburg.

Ackermann has said that his team has not done anything different this week when preparing for their final clash.

“We stuck to the weekly routine, we didn't cut or add days," Ackermann said.

Whiteley has said that the win would be great for his team, since they would host a semi-final as well as help his squad gain momentum ahead of the play-off.

"Confidence is always important. We definitely want that continuity going into the semi-finals -- all teams want that," he said.

Golden Lions:
15. Marnitz Boshoff, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe


16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Julian Redelinghuys, 19. Willie Britz, 20. Warwick Tecklenburg, 21. Mark Richards, 22 Harold Vorster.


Photo Caption: Johan Ackermann is happy that Warren Whiteley returns to the Golden Lions squad. Photo courtesy of www.rugby365.com