Johannesburg – Controversial prop Bees Roux will receive his first start for the Golden Lions in the side's Currie Cup match against the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium on Friday.
Roux was given a five-year suspended jail sentence in 2011 over the beating to death of Tshwane metro police officer Johannes Mogale the year before.
Conditions reached in a plea bargain with the State included that he had to pay Mogale’s family R750,000 compensation.
The Lions have sidestepped the controversy surrounding their decision to award the player a Currie Cup contract, but they had to play him at some point.
"Our other tighthead, Ruan Dreyer, has played almost every minute of every game in the first round and deserves a rest," Lions coach Johan Ackermann said in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
"This is a good opportunity for us to evaluate Bees Roux for the future, as he only has a Currie Cup contract. This gives us a strong and heavy pack of forwards for the game."
Roux's inclusion was one of four changes to the side which beat Griquas 38-32 in Kimberley last weekend.
The team would take to the field with a new front row. CJ van der Linde would start at loosehead prop while Jacques van Rooyen dropped to the bench.
Roux would play at tighthead in place of Dreyer, while hooker Willie Wepener received a starting berth ahead of Robbie Coetzee, who moved to the bench.
Flanker Warwick Tecklenberg was promoted from the bench in the place of Jaco Kriel.
Kriel, who played well against Griquas, could come on as an impact player against the Cheetahs.
There was some concern over Lions captain and flanker Derick Minnie's availability but he was declared fit for the match.
"The knock that Derick took to the knee against Griquas only resulted in some bruising," Ackermann said.
"There was some initial concern that he wouldn't be eligible, but he has recovered and will definitely play against the Cheetahs."
The Lions arrived in Bloemfontein on Sunday, after they beat Griquas in Kimberley the day before.
This arrangement not only helped the team logistically, Ackermann said, but would also ensure his charges were fresh for the match on Friday.
"In the past we always drove to the venue the day before the game, which resulted in the guys being stiff and sore from the bus ride," he said.
"Now we've decided to make a little tour of it.
"The guys will enjoy a day off on Wednesday where they can just relax and unwind. On Thursday, we have the captains run before we meet the Cheetahs on Friday."
Golden Lions team: Marnitz Boshoff, Andries Coetzee, Robert de Bruyn, Dylan Des Fountain, Anthony Volmink, Elton Jantjies, Tian Meyer, Willie Britz, Derick Minnie (captain), Warwick Tecklenberg, Franco van der Merwe, Ruan Venter, Bees Roux, Willie Wepener, CJ van der Linde. Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Jacques van Rooyen, Hugo Klopper, Jaco Kriel, Ross Cronje, Deon Helberg, Ruhan Nel. – Sapa