JOHANNESBURG - Experienced prop Jacques van Rooyen has been handed the captaincy of the Golden Lions after Ryan Kankowski was ruled out of action for the foreseeable future.
Van Rooyen will lead the side when the Lions clash with Western Province in a round five Currie Cup match at Newlands on Friday evening. It is not yet known for how long Kankowski’s groin injury will keep him out of the game.
Also missing for the trip to Cape Town are scrumhalf Dillon Smit (ankle) and Ruan Dreyer, who was called up to the Springbok squad.
Besides Van Rooyen, the other two Lions players who’ll get their first taste of Currie Cup action this year are lock Andries Ferreira and Harold Vorster. All three men sat out the Lions’ match against the Sharks last week after being given a week off by new coach Swys de Bruin.
The team looks far stronger than the side that ran out and lost to the Sharks last week. There are seasoned campaigners in all departments with several players having featured in Super Rugby this season.
De Bruin’s team will be desperate to pick up a win after bagging just one victory from their four matches so far.
The midfield pairing of Janse van Rensburg and Vorster looks particularly threatening, while Ferreira’s’s inclusion at lock will add much-needed fire-power to the tight-five.
De Bruin would have breathed a sigh of relief that Robbie Coetzee was freed to play after being shown a red card last weekend and the hooker’s inclusion will further boost the side ... and the Lions need every bit of positive energy they can muster right now.
Congratulations to Xerox Golden Lions prop Ruan Dreyer for his call-up to the Springbok squad. pic.twitter.com/5MbRo1Sheb
Not only are several of their players turning out for the Boks over the coming weeks and others playing for their Japanese clubs, but the union have decided to loan a number of fringe players to the Southern Kings as they start preparations for their entry into the Pro 14 competition.
Bobby de Wee, Jacques Nel, Jarryd Sage, and Victor Sekekete will all turn out in Kings colours from next month.
And De Bruin has to also soldier on without Akker van der Merwe who has joined the Sharks, Ruan Ackermann who has joined his father, Johan, at Gloucester, and Faf de Klerk, who now plays for Sale Sharks in England.
Lions team: Sylvian Mahuza, Madosh Tambwe, Harold Vorster, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Antony Volmink, Jaco van der Walt, Marco Janse van Vuuren, Fabian Booyzen, Robert Kruger, Cyle Brink, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Jacques van Rooyen, Robbie Coetzee, Corne Fourie. Replacements: Michael Willemse, Johannes Jonker, Rhyno Herbst, Hacjivah Dayimani, Jack Hart, Siya Masuku, Aphiwe Dyantyi