Golden Lions scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has lauded Jake White’s involvement at the union.
White’s Winning Way company recently completed an audit, which found that the players were operating in an unprofessional environment. White and his team of experts are now consulting for the Lions in a bid to restore the side to their former glory.
‘The players are happy about the changes Jake has made and everything seems more professional under the new coach [Hans Coetzee],’ Vermaak told keo.co.za.
‘The spirit is definitely high, especially after the comeback win against the Cheetahs last weekend. We can see how we have improved.’
After the Lions’ dismal Super 14 campaign, former Bok conditioning coach Derik Coetzee conducted fitness tests on the players and the results were shocking (see the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine). Since then, a lot of focus has been put on conditioning.
‘We’ve been working hard in the gym to improve our fitness,’ said Vermaak. ‘We want to be at the top level, and we must be physically fit to get there.’
The Lions have made a decent start to their Currie Cup campaign, losing to the Blue Bulls at Loftus before beating the Cheetahs at Ellis Park. On Saturday, they will have an easier assignment against the Leopards, who have lost to Boland and Griquas.
However, Vermaak doesn’t expect them to be walkovers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
‘They will definitely come out firing,’ he said. ‘Some of their players played for the Lions in the Super 14, so they would love to get a win over us.’
By Gareth Duncan