BLOEMFONTEIN – The Lions have backed up talk of blooding youngsters in the Currie Cup competition by picking a few more rookies for this weekend’s clash against the Sharks in Durban.
Coach Swys de Bruin said some time ago he was going to look to build the team’s depth and experience in the competition by giving promising players a chance to shine, and he’s stuck to his word.
Already the likes of Hacjivah Dayimani, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Ashlon Davids and Aphiwe Dyantyi – who gets another chance on the wing this weekend – have grabbed their chance and shown they can be considered to play at a higher level.
And now lock Rhyno Herbst, 22, also gets his chance in the Lions starting team.
He takes over from Andries Ferreira this week to partner Marvin Orie in the Lions second row, while on the bench, 20-year-old former SA Under-20 loose-forward Len Massyn gets his first taste of senior rugby.
Scrumhalf Bradley Thain has also been called up again to be Jansen van Vuren’s back-up.
And, with veteran No 8 Ryan Kankowski having been released from his contract to take up a position with a Japanese club, Fabian Booysen takes over at the back of the scrum.
De Bruin will be hoping for a big performance from his team after their week off, but he’s also fully aware the Sharks are the clear front-runners in the competition and heavy favourites to go all the way this season.
“The Sharks don’t have a lot of Springbok players out or guys missing who are in Japan, and will be playing at home, in conditions they know well,” said De Bruin.
“I would have thought players like Thomas du Toit and Curwin Bosch would have been part of the Boks, they have played so well... but we are looking forward to what should be a tough encounter.”
The Sharks go into the match having lost just once in 10 outings and lead the way with 43 log points, while the Lions edged the Bulls last time out and are fourth with four wins from nine matches. They have 25 points.
After this Friday’s match (kickoff 7.15pm) the Lions host Western Province, who are also in a fight to make the top four, and then finish with a trip to Bloemfontein to take on the second-placed Cheetahs.
15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen (captain).
Bench: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannnes Jonker, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Bradley Thain, 22 Anthony Volmink/Stokkies Hanekom.