Reds are Ready for Lions
Reds are Ready for LionsSHARE
Hooker Andrew Ready has gained his first start of the season, coming into the No.2 jersey, with Stephen Moore shifting to the bench.
Lock Kane Douglas also returns to the starting side after Izack Rodda was unable to train fully due to a head knock he suffered against the Crusaders last week.
That change has also allowed Lukhan Tui to come into the matchday 23 for the first time this season as a reserve.
"One of the benefits of our squad is we have genuine depth in a number of positions," Reds coach Nick Stiles said.
"Both Andrew and Stephen have been exceptional for us over the first few weeks.
"Stephen has started the first few rounds, but we've got complete faith in Andrew to take on the starting role and having a guy of Stephen's quality on the bench provides us with unmatched experience at the back end of the game.
"It's disappointing not to be able to give Izack another run, but with the travel over here, he just didn't have enough time to train and get through all the necessary protocols that come with a head knock.
"Again, we've got a lot of quality depth in the lock position. Both Kane and Lukhan bring a lot of aggression and physicality, so they're a good fit for this game.
"The Reds haven't had a great track record on this tour [to South Africa] in recent years, but the professionalism and desire we've seen from the squad this week have been pleasing.
"We're here to get results and a win at altitude against a quality team like the Lions would be a great reward for our hard work."
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Chris Kuridrani.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT; 01.15 Sunday, Match 19 AEST)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)