Lions unveil new midfield
Former South African Under-20 player Harold Vorster will make his Currie Cup debut in the Lions' midfield, when they take on the Blue Bulls.
Former South African Under-20 player Harold Vorster will make his Currie Cup debut in the Lions' midfield, when they take on the Blue Bulls in a Round One match.
Vorster, who played for the Baby Boks last year, will partner seasoned centre Nicolaas Hanekom in the midfield when they play at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann named new recruit Howard Mnisi on the bench and opted instead for a rookie in his new-look midfield.
It follows in the wake of a rash of injuries that sidelined players like Alwyn Hollenbach (shoulder), Deon van Rensburg (rib fracture), Anthony Volmink (shoulder injury) and Courtnall Skosan (fractured cheekbone).
Chrysander Botha has gone to Ireland, while Coenie Van Wyk and JW Jonker has returned to the Pumas at the completion of the Super Rugby season.
In the forwards Ackermann opted to start Ruan Dreyer at tighthead, after Super Rugby star front row forward Julian Redelinghuys suffered a torn calf muscle last week.
Schalk van der Merwe and Robbie Coetzee make up the rest of the front row.
Luvuyiso Lusaseni partners with Franco Mostert in the second row, while the established loose trio of Jaco Kriel, Derick Minnie and Warren Whiteley make up the back row.
Whiteley will continue to captain the side into the Currie Cup.
In the backline, apart from the enforced change at centre, it looks a reasonably settled combination.
Ross Cronjé starts at scrumhalf, with Marnitz Boshoff at flyhalf.
Ruan Combrinck and Lionel Mapoe fill the wing berths, while Andries Coetzee starts at fullback.
On the replacement bench Armand van der Merwe, Ricky Schroeder and Jaco van der Walt will all be in line to make their Currie Cup debuts.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Date: Saturday, August 9
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greeff