JOHANNESBURG – Lions boss Johan Ackermann has made several changes to his team for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Western Force in Perth.
It will be the Lions’ first game of a three-week tour of Australia, with matches against the Rebels and Brumbies also on the schedule.
The Lions will be targeting three wins to consolidate their strong position in Africa Conference 2 after so far registering sevens wins from eight matches. They have only lost to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires so far.
An injury to livewire flank Jaco Kriel, who isn’t on tour, has opened the door for Kwagga Smith to start, while Ackermann’s preferred front row combination of Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen are back in the saddle after playing off the bench against the Jaguares in Joburg last Friday.
In the backs Faf de Klerk comes into the starting team in place of Ross Cronje, while Sylvian Mahuza starts in place of Madosh Tambwe, who has joined the SA U-20 squad in preparation for the World Junior Championship in a few weeks’ time.
Cronje misses out completely for this match because of a leg injury, opening the door for Dillon Smit to get a chance, while Cyle Brink and Anthony Volmink also get a chance from the bench this week.
Robbie Coetzee has also been elevated to the matchday squad with Akker van der Merwe getting time to put his feet up this week.
Lions: Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Ruan Ackermann, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink, Dillon Smit, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink