Lionel Mapoe has been named at centre for Saturday's Currie Cup clash against the Blue Buls. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - While the Golden Lions have lost experienced scrumhalf Ross Cronje to the Springboks, they have gained centre Lionel Mapoe for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls at Loftus (kickoff at 4pm).

Mapoe scored two tries as a replacement for wing Makazole Mapimpi in a losing Bok cause in Mendoza against Argentina last Saturday, but will be back playing Currie Cup rugby this weekend. He’ll form a quite formidable midfield pairing with fellow seasoned campaigner Howard Mnisi.

It is a far cry from last week’s rookie pairing of Manny Rass and Jan-Louis la Grange, who started in the win against Griquas, but miss out completely this week. There is also plenty of experience in the back three, which consists of Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan and Sylvian Mahuza. Coming in at No 9 for Cronje, who didn’t travel to Mendoza, is Dillon Smit, while Shaun Reynolds will again don the No 10 jersey.

There are minimal changes up front, with Bok lock Marvin Orie taking over the captaincy of the side, while on the bench new prop recruit Danie Mienie will get his first run in a Lions jersey. The exciting pair of Madosh Tambwe and Wandisile Simelane are expected to be unleashed later on in what should be an exciting game at Loftus Versfeld.

The Lions go into the match on the back of a resounding first-up win against Griquas. While new coach Ivan van Rooyen will have been pleased with the nine tries his team scored - with Skosan getting three and No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani two - the Lions conceded five; their defence something that will be closely watched this weekend. The Bulls are looking for their first win of the campaign after being well beaten by the Sharks a week ago.

IOL Sport

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