Clean bill of health for Lions ahead of Bulls Currie Cup semi-final
JOHANNESBURG - The Lions are enjoying something of a purple patch regarding the fitness of their players, and once again this coming weekend, they can call on the majority of their squad to face the Bulls.
The Johannesburg-based team confirmed on Monday that they are suffering from no injury concerns, barring those long-term injuries sustained by a couple of players earlier this season.
Coach Ivan van Rooyen will, therefore, have a full-strength compliment to choose from as the Lions try to beat the Bulls for the first time this season in the semi-final of the Currie Cup on Saturday (kick-off 2pm) at Loftus Versveld.
Earlier this year, the Lions were undone by a staunch Bulls defence 22-15 at Loftus Versfeld, while in the SuperRugby Unlocked section of the season they narrowly lost 30-25 at Emirates Airline Park. But this is crunch-time, and no error in application or execution can be afforded this weekend, and Van Rooyen will now have to decide what form his strongest matchday 23 takes.
Luckily, he can call upon all his Springboks in Jannie du Plessis, Ruan Dreyer, Willem Alberts, Marvin Orie, Jaco Kriel, Roelof Smit, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Courtnall Skosan and Jamba Ulengo - if he so chooses - while he has a bevy of Springbok Showdown players that can get another opportunity to impress, such as Carlu Sadie, Vincent Tshituka and Wandisile Simelane.
The team look can, therefore, take on one of consistency - another boon for the Lions' coach as he tries to engineer a victory over the only team that his side has not beaten this season.
The team announcement is scheduled for Thursday, and with the exception of any unforeseen injuries, or Covid-19 related incidents, there should be few surprises in the make-up of the team that will play on Saturday.
Lions' Currie Cup semi-final squad:
Forwards: Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Carlu Sadie, Dameon Venter, Dylan Smith, Francke Horn, Hacjivah Dayimani, Jaco Kriel, Jaco Visagie, Jan-Henning Campher, Jannie du Plessis, Len Massyn, Marnus Schoeman, Marvin Orie, MJ Pelser, Nathan McBeth, PJ Botha, reinhard Nothnagel, Roelof Smit, Ruan Dreyer, Ruben Schoeman, Sti Sithole, Vincent Tshituka, Wiehahn Herbst, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Willem Alberts
Backs: Andre Warner, Burger Odendaal, Courtnall Skosan, Dan Kriel, Divan Russouw, Elton Jantjies (capt), EW Viljoen, James Mollentze, Jamba Ulengo, Manuel Rass, Morne van den Berg, Ross Cronje, Rabz Maxwane, Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane.