Lions coach not 'pressurised' by transformation

Lions take on the EP Kings tomorrow in round four of the Currie Cup, looking to maintain their unbeaten run.

Lions head coach, Johan Ackermann.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Johan Ackermann says he is not pressurised by transformation when picking his squads.

After weeks on pressure on Heyneke Meyer around his Springbok squad, Ackermann says that's definitely not the case at the Golden Lions.

They take on the EP Kings tomorrow in round four of the Currie Cup, looking to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition.

Ackermann says he picks his players on performance and performance alone.

"How it has been since joining the Lions and the fact that I made him captain definitely is not for any other reason that because of the way he's playing. We want to show the world that we can adapt to that, the players want to know that met it and I can say that they are."

Ackermann is confident Warren Whiteley will perform for the Lions, despite the disappointment of not making it into the World Cup squad.

The loose forward was originally picked by Ackermann to start against the EP Kings tomorrow, but injured his calf yesterday in training.

Ackermann says Whiteley is focused on the Lions now.

"When he put on Lions jersey we know we've got his heart and his mind 110 percent. So there is no doubt that he wanted to be part of the rest of the campaign. He's not sulking, he's not negative, he's supporting the Boks and obviously wants to support us winning the Currie Cup."

Howard Mnisi says the Golden Lions cannot underestimate the EP Kings despite their salary disputes or previous encounters.

The match was in jeopardy until Thursday afternoon due to a threatening players strike; while the last time to two teams met at Nelson Mandela, the Lions smashed them 51-14.

Mnisi says they need to remain focused.

"Every team has been putting their best foot forward in the last couple of weeks. I think they are going to come out here energized and try to come up here and make sure that they put best forward again. So they're going to come out guns blazing but we're ready to play our type of game and make sure we do what we've to do."