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Rugby | Absa Currie Cup

Jantjies to start from bench



MTN Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann says it is crucial they shift their attention to the upcoming Absa Currie Cup, following their return to Vodacom Super Rugby next season.

The Lions edged out the Southern Kings over their two-legged promotion/relegation playoff, ensuring their participation in the 2014 competition.

But Ackermann on Wednesday said a quick turnaround would be key to getting their Currie Cup campaign off to a solid start.

"It wasn't easy. It (promotion/relegation playoff) was a big pressure release for us, it was a big challenge and it took a lot out of us," Ackermann said.

"We have to forget about what happened. We achieved one of our goals this season (winning the promotion playoff). It's about Currie Cup now and we start with a game against a side that traditionally always do well in the Currie Cup."

The Lions host the Cheetahs in their Currie Cup opener on Saturday.

"We have to win. I think the secret is to win your home games," Ackermann explained.

"If you do that, you've already won five games and then you're about two away games from reaching the semifinals. Week by week it is a challenge and if you aren't at your best you'll lose because there is no easy weekend."

Ackermann named Elton Jantjies on the bench, while Marnitz Boshoff will start at flyhalf. This would allow Jantjies time to recover from a busy Super Rugby season with the Stormers, and two tough promotion playoff games against the Kings.

"Marnitz Boshoff comes in as a rotation for Elton. I want to give Elton a bit of a break after Super Rugby (for the Stormers) and the two promotion/relegation games.

"Marnitz was unlucky not to get game time, so we feel he needs that start to hopefully carry on with the form," Ackermann said.

Meanwhile, Derick Minnie was named captain in the absence of the injured Warren Whiteley. Minnie would in all likelihood remain skipper for the entire Currie Cup campaign.

"Derick is one of our most experienced players and with Warren Whiteley's injury, it was quite easy for me to choose Derick. Derick will remain our captain and time will tell if it goes well with the Currie Cup.

"If Warren comes back (from injury) there probably won't be a lot of games left, so we will stick with Derick and for now he will stay captain for as long as possible.

"You don't want to change your captain right at the end of the campaign. Warren only had his operation yesterday [Tuesday] and he'll be out for about eight weeks."

Lions: Chrysander Botha, Deon Helberg, Stokkies Hanekom, Dylan des Fountain, Anthony Volmink, Marnitz Boshoff, Guy Cronje, Willie Britz, Warwick Tecklenburg, Derick Minnie (captain), Hugo Kloppers, Stephan Greef, Ruan Dreyer, Martin Bezuidenhout, Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: Francois du Toit, CJ van der Linde, Lambert Groenewald, Jaco Kriel, Tian Meyer, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Cronje/Robert de Bruyn.

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