25 July 2013
| Heinz Schenk
Even both opposition coaches have opened up sufficiently to actually give each other that compliment.
Yet as the men from Doornfontein embark on their captain’s run at the Nelson Mandela Bay this evening, a pertinent query remains.
While the Lions have done everything expected of them results wise, how have those excursions primed the Lions for the intensity expected in tomorrow night’s first-leg promotion-relegation game?
“It’s a question that will remain with us until we finish this Port Elizabeth game,” shrugged Lions coach Johann Ackermann.
“The one thing the Kings have over us is the fact that they’ve been exposed to 15 games at a very intense level. It might render them a bit more jaded than us or might leave them with extra left in the tank when the going gets tough. It’s nothing you can really plan for.”
The Lions ultimately organised a schedule that was viable as best they could but Ackermann is still left wondering.
“The strength of the opposition we faced was inconsistent and at times it was a concern. I’d be lying if I didn’t say you keep feeling that you could’ve organised one or two more games,” he noted.
“But in the end, we’re satisfied. Thankfully, Griquas and the Sharks sent strong teams to play us later in our overall schedule. Therefore the match intensity did gradually build up to this game. We did lament one of the French clubs not fulfilling fixtures but we got by as well as we could.”
Like the Kings, the bodies have had two weeks of rest.
“We’ve been aware of that. Even though the Kings have been playing hard and might be feeling the effects of that they’ve had a break. It could allow them a final push and that’s why I’m actually also happy that we’ve had a breather,” said Ackermann.
“In hindsight, I think our breaks also fell at the perfect intervals. It’s important to have a balanced schedule, it allows for the bodies to be fresh. We have a squad 100% ready to play the full 80 minutes.”
Elton back for Lions