Lions win at a price

The Lions’ emphatic 44-14 Super Rugby win over the Reds at Ellis Park came at a price.

They are likely to be without utility back Jaco van der Walt‚ prop Johannes Jonker and centre Lionel Mapoe for this weekend's match against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

Van der Walt injured an ankle‚ Jonker got a knock to the head and left the field with his neck in a brace‚ while
Mapoe has a suspected broken hand.

Coach Johan Ackermann admitted the injuries put a dampener on their victory.

“Jaco either broke something‚ or best case scenario it is only ligament damage. That is going to be a few weeks but only the scans will tell.

“With Johannes we have to ascertain whether it is something worse than just a head knock. Lionel has the possibility of a broken hand. Those are the injuries we know of‚” Ackermann said with a rueful smile.

Still‚ the Lions ran in seven tries to firmly put last week's defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires behind them. Wing Courtnall Skosan ran in four tries and backline coach Swys de Bruin was left gushing.

“Courtnall is a special player and I am so glad for him. He's a great guy in the backline. He's a leader. He does the right things. He trains extremely hard. It is fantastic when a winger‚ in any game scores four tries. He worked for them‚ especially with that long chase. It was his night. It was special.”

On the other wing there was a debut for Madosh Tambwe but he didn't make it over the Reds' goalline. Much is however expected from the young speedster.

“What can we say about about him. He is something else. He's gonna play many games. He has already shown us a lot but we will keep working on him. There a special stuff that is hiding there‚” said De Bruin.

While the result was never in doubt after Quade Cooper was shown a red card‚ the Lions did drop their guard on defence when the tourists operated with 14 men.

“Our bench needs to know that when they come on they need to bring that same intensity. I will get their focus right‚” said defence coach JP Ferreira.

“We conceded 10 tries in the competition before this game so I challenged the guys last Thursday. Now we need to keep the attitude going‚” said Ferreira.

Ackermann was happy with the way his team responded after last week's defeat. “We were a little nervous before the game because there is a lot of experience in that Reds side. And quality players. Credit to our guys for lifting the level to where we want to compete.”

TMG Digital/TMG Sport