James to retire at the end of the season
Veteran Springbok Butch James will lead a severely depleted Golden Lions team into battle against the Blue Bulls in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The 2007 World Cup winner, who will retired from all rugby at the end of the season, will captain the defending champions in their final Currie Cup league match of the season.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann, as reported by this website earlier this week, decided to rest most of his big guns for the semifinal next week.
The Lions and the table-topping Sharks have already qualified for the play-offs - with Western Province, Griquas, the Free State Cheetahs and the Bulls in a mad dash for the final two places.
The only returning Boks in the Lions squad this weekend are props CJ van der Linde and Pat Cilliers.
They have had almost no game time with the national team in the last month and are in need to some time on the pitch before the play-offs.
Van der Linde will play at loosehead, allowing Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg with a much-needed break.
This is one of the eight changes, two of which are positional switches, to the starting side that lost to Griquas last week.
In the second of six changes to last weekend's pack Cilliers takes over from Jacobie Adriaanse, who also gets a break. However, Adriaanse will be on the bench, unlike Janse van Rensburg, who gets a complete break.
Ruan Botha, who was to have replaced Franco van der Merwe at No.5 lock, injured his ankle at practice on Thursday and was replaced by Paul Willemse in the starting XV. Van der Merwe will now be on the bench.
Jaco Kriel taking over from Cobus Grobbelaar on the No.6 flank, with Derick Minnie coming off the bench in place of Kriel at No.7; Willie Britz gives Warren Whiteley a deserved break at No.8.
In the backline left wing Anthony Volmink replaces Ruan Combrinck, who moves to fullback in place of Andries Coetzee.
On the bench there are six changes. Prop Adriaanse replaces Caylib Oosthuizen; Paul Willemse comes in place of Britz who moved into the starting XV; Whiteley replaces Minnie, who also moved into the starting XV; Whestley Moolman replaces Guy Cronje as replacement scrumhalf. Two more Boks, Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe, will also be on the bench.
Jantjies played 50 minutes against New Zealand last week, while Mapoe saw no game time.
Jaco Taute, who has featured in the Bok starting XV in the last two Tests, is rested altogether.
Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Andrew James (captain), 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Whestley Moolman, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Lionel Mapoe.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Johan Greeff