Johannesburg – The Golden Lions have been boosted by the return of flyhalf Elton Jantjies ahead of their Curie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
The playmaker pivot recovered from an ankle injury and takes over the flyhalf duties from Marnitz Boshoff, who shifts to fullback for the crucial clash.
“Elton got through the week's training and the medical staff are quite happy that he is at no risk,” Lions coach Johan Ackermann said at the team announcement in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Chrysander Botha, who did duty at fullback will move to wing at the expense of Deon Helberg, while Ross Cronje will form a halfback combination with Jantjies.
Prop Ruan Dreyer will receive a starting berth in the place of Julian Redelinghuys and CJ van der Linde also move into the match-day 22, which sees Jacques van Rooyen move to the bench.
Flanker Jaco Kriel also made it into the run-on side, with Warwick Tecklenburg joining the rest of the substitutes.
The match is a repeat of last year's playoff match when a last-minute try by Province skipper Deon Fourie sunk the Lions 21-16 at Ellis Park.
The Lions have been the best attacking outfit this season with 40 tries compared to their closest rivals, the Cheetahs, with 31
While knock-out matches are often a tight arm wrestle, Ackermann said his team would not divert from their expansive style.
“We want to excite our fans by the way we play and we want to play an exciting brand of rugby,” he said.
“To change that and suddenly be a defensive side or a kicking side is not what we stand for.”
The Lions will have a tough task ahead of them against the only unbeaten side in the competition on their home ground.
Ackermann said his charges would come up against a Province side that has shown throughout the season that they can win close games.
“They know how to win and because of the experience they have, but it is a once-off game,” the Lions mentor said.
“We've got a mindset of belief and we will give it our best shot. If it is good enough then we will win.”
He said discipline would be crucial in the match as they could not afford to give Province flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis any chance of converting penalties into points for the Capetonians.
Golden Lions team: Marnitz Boshoff, Chrysander Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Andries Coetzee, Anthony Volmink, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley, Derick Minnie (captain), Jaco Kriel, Franco van der Merwe, Chris van Zyl, Ruan Dreyer, Willie Wepener, CJ van der Linde. Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Jacques van Rooyen, Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Britz, Warwick Tecklenburg, Tian Meyer, Robert de Bruyn. – Sapa