Rain de­lays Lions Su­per prepa­ra­tion

With big names White­ley, Kriel, Mostert, Jan­tjies and Mapoe back, coach Ack­er­mann hasn’t had an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess his play­ers as they build to new sea­son


JO­HAN Ack­er­mann will be hop­ing for a few dry hours to­day to as­sess the fit­ness lev­els of some of his se­nior play­ers be­fore de­cid­ing who’ll run out for the Lions in a pre-sea­son game on Satur­day.

All of the Lions’ play­ers who turned out for var­i­ous clubs in Ja­pan over the last few months – War­ren White­ley, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, El­ton Jan­tjies and Lionel Mapoe – joined the rest of their Lions team­mates at train­ing yes­ter­day, but heavy rain forced the play­ers in­doors and coach Ack­er­mann was un­able to put them to the test and de­ter­mine what kind of con­di­tion they’re in.

“They were all back to­gether for the first time, but the rain re­ally dis­rupted us badly. There were huge pud­dles on the field and I wasn’t able to see what con­di­tion all those guys are in, so it wasn’t a very pro­duc­tive day,” said a frus­trated Ack­er­mann.

The Lions are pre­par­ing for a warm-up game against an in­vi­ta­tional Bar­bar­ians side at Wits on Satur­day, and Ack­er­mann is still un­sure who’ll run out in that game.

“The good thing is the guys who came back from Ja­pan and even An­dries Fer­reira, who came back from France, all look to be in great con­di­tion. I can’t see any ex­tra ki­los on them. And any­way, they’re ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers so it shouldn’t take them long to slot back in,” he said.

It would ap­pear sec­ond row for­ward Fer­reira, who hasn’t played in some weeks, will play against the club play­ers of the BaaBaas this week­end, but it’s doubt­ful the likes of Kriel, Mostert, Jan­tjies and Mapoe will fea­ture.

“I’m re­ally still un­cer­tain who to pick for this game. Some of the guys need game time, but oth­ers might need some rest, too. That’s why I need to put them through some tests so see where they are phys­i­cally,” Ack­er­mann said.

“Hav­ing so many more guys com­ing in from over­seas clubs this year, as op­posed to this time last year, makes things a lit­tle more tricky, but I’m con­fi­dent we’ll be all set come kick­off in a few weeks’ time.

“The good thing is we have far more ex­pe­ri­ence in the squad this year, with many more guys hav­ing played Test rugby, and gone to the Su­per Rugby fi­nal last year, and that makes a big dif­fer­ence.”

Satur­day’s game will be the Lions’ sec­ond warm-up game af­ter a young, mainly Un­der-21 side lost against the Bulls in Harare last Satur­day.

Play­ers who Ack­er­mann can’t con­sider for se­lec­tion at the mo­ment in­clude Ju­lian Redel­inghuys, Ruan Com­brinck and Dy­lan Smith, who’re all in­jured.


UN­SURE: Lions coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann will this week have an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess his big name play­ers, who have re­turned from Ja­pan, and guage their con­di­tion and fit­ness lev­els.

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