Johannesburg - It may not be quite as significant as having Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger back in your team, but the Lions will welcome back Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies to their side for Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Newlands.
Jantjies, who was in good form for the Lions prior to picking up an injury against the Sharks three weeks ago, has recovered from a grade two ankle ligament tear, and is set to feature against star-studded Western Province.
The twice-capped Bok flyhalf was not expected to play again in the competition, but has recovered quicker than anticipated.
He is almost sure to start at flyhalf, with Marnitz Boshoff returning to the fullback position, and will play a crucial role against Demetri Catrakilis, who has been in excellent form since rejoining Western Province from the Southern Kings.
Jantjies’s return is good news for the Lions as they come up against a Bok-laden side that will almost surely see De Villiers and Burger in the starting team after the duo’s appearances off the bench in recent weeks.
Western Province boss Allister Coetzee can also call on Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen and Juan de Jongh, among others.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann will not only have Jantjies back this week, but also veteran prop CJ van der Linde, who has been in excellent form, lock Ruan Venter and promising back Robert de Bruyn. All three have recovered from injuries and are available for selection.
A final call on scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, who is nursing a hamstring problem, will be made on Thursday.
The injury bug has seriously hampered the Lions over the past 10 weeks, with the back division particularly badly affected.
Ackermann will name his team on Thursday.