Lions' best for Bulls
The Golden Lions have stuck with their tried and trusted to face the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup warm-up match in Johannesburg on Friday.
Although there are a number of positional shuffles, the Golden Lions have stuck with their tried and trusted to face the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup warm-up match in Johannesburg on Friday.
Injuries and the move of flank Grant Hattingh to the Blue Bulls have necessitated changes to the side that played against the same opponents in the final Super Rugby round three weeks ago.
Backline players Deon van Rensburg (leg fracture) and James Kamana (hamstring) are not available.
Fortunately young Andries Coetzee, who has impressed in his first season at Super Rugby level, has recovered from injury and is back at fullback.
Lionel Mapoe moves in from wing to outside centre and Waylon Murray shifts to the inside in place of Springbok Butch James, with Ruan Combrinck taking over from Mapoe on the wing.
James is rested and will be available for the first match against the Free State Cheetahs next weekend.
Up front there is the interesting shift of Josh Strauss to No.7 as ball-carrying flank in place of Grant Hattingh, who is on the Blue Bulls' bench.
Derick Minnie takes over from Strauss at No.8 while Jaco Kriel comes into Minnie's place at No.6 in what seems like a loose trio experiment.
There is also the good news that never-say-die lock Franco van der Merwe is fit again after missing out on one match of 16, and he partners Hendrik Roodt in the second row.
Regular starting hooker Callie Visagie gets a break and Marin Bezuidenhout starts in the middle of the scrum.
Good news on the front row is that the Lions' depth has been boosted by the return of Patric Cilliers and Caylib Oosthuizen from injury.
They are among the 16 replacements nominated for this pre-season match.
Loose forward Warren Whiteley, also back from a long-term injury, is another who is included on the enlarged bench.
New signing Grant Hattingh will be running out in Bulls colours for the first time.
Hattingh had a short term Super Rugby contract with the Lions, but moved north at the completion of their fixtures and Bulls coach Pine Pienaar included him in the squad of 26 players that will play their first warm-up fixture on Friday.
Pienaar also included the likes of Deon Stegmann, Rossouw de Klerk and Lionel Cronjé, all players who were injured for most of the season and will benefit from the game time provided ahead of the 2012 Currie Cup season.
A couple of current Under-21 players, like Ulrich Beyers, Arno Botha and Wiaan Liebenberg, has also been included, indicating Pienaar's intention to use them during the upcoming Absa Currie Cup campaign.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements - from: Francois du Toit, Caylib Oosthuizen, Patric Cilliers, Ruan Dreyer, JC Wasserman, Cobus Grobbelaar, Warren Whiteley, Willie Britz, Ross Cronje, Gus Cronje, Justin St Jerry, Chrysander Botha, JR Esterhuizen, Richard Aingworth, Whestley Moolman, Grant Janke.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn.
Replacements - from: Morné Mellett, Robbie Coetzee, Rossouw de Klerk, Franco Mostert, Grant Hattingh, Warwick Tecklenburg, Wiaan Liebenberg, Ruan Snyman, Lionel Cronjé, Adri Jacobs, Jerome Pretorius.
Date: Friday, August 3
Venue: Wits Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge