Lions coach welcomes return of experienced Derick Minnie

2014-04-10 16:10

Lions Super Rugby coach Johan Ackermann is pleased to have blockbusting loose forward Derick Minnie back, especially with the table-topping Sharks coming to town on Saturday.

The sides meet at Ellis Park with kickoff at 7.10pm. Minnie has been rushed back into the starting line-up, highlighting his importance to the Lions’ cause. Minnie missed six weeks of Super Rugby because of a fractured cheekbone sustained during the first-round 34-10 win against the Stormers at Ellis Park in February.

“We are happy with Derick’s return back into the starting 15. We needed experience against the Crusaders, especially at the breakdown. Derick has a lot of it, which will benefit us against the Sharks,” said Ackermann.

“We worked a bit on the breakdown, which was a concern. Hopefully our physical and mental preparation will be better, especially with the Sharks coming to town.”

Minnie’s return sees Jaco Kriel dropping to the bench for this weekend’s derby.

The Sharks have named an unchanged side from the one that beat the Waratahs 32-10 in Durban two weeks ago.

Ackermann said that the team’s focus would be on their game plan and less on what the Sharks did, even though Jake White’s men are not known as an 80-minute team.

Ackermann said it would be imperative for the Lions to get their balance right as the Sharks were ruthless when it came to punishing errors.

“Our team wants to be adventurous, which is something we don’t want to lose. When we become conservative, we look like we are out of our comfort zone,” he said.

“We’ll have the same strategy as the one we had against the Crusaders as the Sharks will pressure you in your half and wait for the mistakes to come.”

Franco van der Merwe’s ankle injury put the Lions’ line-out in the spotlight and against an accurate team like the Crusaders, they were found wanting. Ackermann said it was down to a case of an error in execution rather than pointing fingers at individuals but promised that they would bounce back.

“Luckily they [Sharks] are also in a similar position where they have to rely on a young lock to call the line-outs. But I’ve got a lot of faith in Martin Miller, MB Lusaseni and Franco Mostert who can call line-outs,” said Ackermann.



15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Willie Britz, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Alwyn Hollenbach


15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Paul Jordaan, 23 SP Marais

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