Different feeling for coach's son
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Getty Images
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One Lions player has a special interest in the outcome. He's No.8 Ruan Ackermann, the son of coach Johan Ackermann who ends his association with the side after the final before moving to English premiership club Gloucester.
"All the players are feeling it a bit and there will be a lot of emotions going through as we get closer to the game, but for me it's a little different," he told sport24.co.za.
"I'm not only going to have to say goodbye to me coach, but my dad as well.
"We all certainly want to make sure we can give him the perfect send-off, but he's already said to us that whatever happens on Saturday is not the be-all and end-all. He's told us he is proud of what we have achieved and all he wants is for us to go out there and play, and enjoy it," he said.
Ackermann has had extra responsibility with the side this year while filling in for injured Springbok captain Warren Whiteley.
Normally a flanker, Ackermann has been helped in making the adjustment by Whiteley.
NEWS | Ellis Park sold out for #SuperRugby final between @crusadersrugby and Lions.
READ: https://t.co/iHbat2iH7E#LIOvCRU pic.twitter.com/4vjen2xMqY— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 31, 2017
That places a little more pressure on him in Saturday's final when his opponent is the All Blacks captain Kieran Read.
"Can you believe it, up against the All Blacks captain? That's why we respect the Crusaders so much, they've got class players in every position," he said.
"I actually don't think it has hit home what's coming on Saturday. I think it'll start sinking in on Friday and then, obviously on Saturday morning. Right now, we're just thankful we've got this chance after losing the final last year.
"It's the dream final isn't it? It's going to be so special, a match between a South African team and a New Zealand team in front of a huge crowd at one of the best stadiums in the world.
"I don't think anyone must take this match for granted…it's us against the best team to have ever featured in the competition. We must embrace the opportunity because it's going to be big," he said.
Watch live on @skysportnz Sunday 6 August, 1.55am.#LIOvCRU #SuperRugby pic.twitter.com/UOJnBUWZvi— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) August 1, 2017
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