JOHANNESBURG – A handful of injuries has forced Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen to make a couple of changes for the team's clash against the Sharks on Saturday in Durban (kick-off 4pm) in Round 2 of the Rainbow Cup South Africa.
Wing Stean Pienaar will not play in the match due to pulling a hamstring during training on Thursday, but his injury will pave the way for the exciting Rabz Maxwane. The former Cheetahs player was the 2019 ProRugby top try scorer, and has oodles of pace to burn. Together with Springbok Courtnall Skosan, the two outbacks will make up a breathless combination, although the Lions might miss the compact power of Pienaar.
As expected, EW Viljoen will continue as fullback after the long-term injury to Tiaan Swanepoel to complete the back three, and will no doubt be involved from the get go as it is believed that the Sharks will employ their trademark kicking game, as marshalled by Curwin Bosch. Elsewhere, the powerful Carlu Sadie will make his first start of the season, replacing veteran Jannie du Plessis. Prop Asenathi Ntlanakanye, meanwhile, will also get a look in off the bench, the 22-year-old no doubt chomping at the bit to receive an opportunity after not receiving any last season.
The loose-trio gets another chance to build on their burgeoning relationship – MJ Pelser, Vincent Tshituka and Francke Horn entrusted with hunting down the possession, winning the breakdown, and harring the Sharks attack once again.
Lions starting XV: EW Viljoen; Rabz Maxwane, Wandisile Simelane, Dan Kriel, Courtnall Skosan; Fred Zeilinga, André Warner; Francke Horn, Vincent Tshituka, MJ Pelser; Reinhard Nothnagel, Ruben Schoeman, Carlu Sadie, PJ Botha, Sti Sithole; Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Nathan McBeth, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Len Massyn, Emmanuel Tshituka, Morné van den Berg, Jordan Hendrikse, Burger Odendaal.