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Thu Apr 24 09:00:18 SAST 2014

Training accidents cause more injuries in Lions' den

CHUMANI BAMBANI | 25 June, 2012 00:000 Comments
CJ van der Linde back in action during a Lions training session at Johannesburg Stadium on April 11, 2012 in Johannesburg
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

In what can only be a case of adding injury to insult, the embattled Lions have managed to get even more players injured during Super rugby's month-long break for the mid-year tests.

Tighthead props CJ van der Linde and Pat Cilliers are likely to be ruled out for at least the first weekend of Super rugby - a game against the Stormers, who lead the SA conference - due to groin and knee injuries respectively.

All this against the backdrop of a week in which a player revolt led to union's suspension of head coach John Mitchell to investigate claims that he was verbally abusive to the players.

Former Springbok lock and forwards coach Johan Ackerman said they lost both players during the same training session.

Ackerman will coach the side with backs coach Carlos Spencer, while Mitchell is being investigated.

"We've lost Pat Cilliers and CJ van der Linde during training, on the same day. We are not sure how long they will be out for," said Ackerman.

"We will make a final decision in the week, but it will definitely be touch and go, for both players. It is a big blow because they are two of our most experienced players and have been in good form for us."

Centre Waylon Murray is the only returnee from injury, but he had already come back from his lengthy knee injury by the time the Super rugby season went into recess.

Ackerman blamed the lengthy injury list for the Lions' woeful season.

The injury blow has seen them lie second from the bottom of the log after just two wins from 16 games.

"[A lack of] continuity has been our biggest downfall. From around the second round we have had new combinations and faces," said Ackerman.

"We had players coming in who had not even played Currie Cup rugby yet, but found themselves playing Super rugby."

"We often lacked the mental strength that the experienced guys would have given us.

"We had some good games which we could have won had we had more experience on the field.

"It's been a tough season, especially when you consider the inexperienced players we put up against sides like the Crusaders, who have about 11 international players in their squad."

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