New-look Lions still shaking off rust

Lions coach Johann Ackermann says his team has plenty to improve on following their 51-13 win against Russia.

The Lions scored seven tries (including two penalty tries) at Ellis Park, but it was far from a flawless performance, as you would expect from an early-season hit-out.

‘One particular area [of concern] was the restarts,’ said Ackermann. ‘When they kicked on us, we made it difficult to get out of our own half. It probably had a bit to do with the weather and we didn’t get to do what we planned.

‘There is definitely rustiness that we need to sort out and there were also new combinations and you could see as the game progressed we got a bit better.’

Ackermann will continue to test combinations before deciding who his regular starters will be.

Meanwhile, Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg said the team knew things would get tougher from here.

‘Next week the level of the competition goes up playing against the Cheetahs, and we want to prove ourselves against the guys playing Super Rugby,’ he said.

26 January: vs Cheetahs, Ellis Park (5pm)
2 February: vs Bulls, Orlando Stadium (3pm)
9 February: vs Kings, Ellis Park (TBC)
23 February: vs Namibia in Windhoek (TBC)
16 March: vs Mont de Marsan, Ellis Park (7:30pm)
13 April: vs US Invitational, California (TBC)
20 April: vs North American Barbarians, Vancouver (TBC)
27 April: vs Chicago Lions, Chicago (TBC)
11 May: vs Agen, Ellis Park (3pm)
1 June: vs Samoa, Ellis Park (3pm)
8 June: vs French Barbarians, Ellis Park (2pm)
15 June: vs Stormers, Ellis Park (2pm)
21 June: vs Sharks, Ellis Park (7pm)
12 July: vs Montpellier, Ellis Park (7pm)
20 July: vs Grenoble, Ellis Park (2.30pm)
27 July: Promotion-relegation play-off, TBC (TBC)
3 August: Promotion-relegation play-off, Ellis Park (TBC)