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Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen backs exciting youngsters for Dragons clash

Reinhard Nothnagel will captain the Lions for their game against the Dragons. Photo: Willem Loock/BackpagePix

Reinhard Nothnagel will captain the Lions for their game against the Dragons. Photo: Willem Loock/BackpagePix

Published May 20, 2022

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Durban - With the Lions out of the running for the URC quarter-finals, coach Ivan van Rooyen has picked a squad with an eye on the future for Saturday’s last-round fixture against the Dragons in Newport.

It is in the midfield in particular that there are new faces as Burger Odendaal is moving on to Wasps in England while it has been reported that outside centre Wandisile Simelane is about to sign for the Bulls.

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It is pity because the pairing of Odendaal and Simelane was lethal.

Still, the new centre duo of Henco van Wyk and Matt More is young and exciting and it will be interesting to see how they fare.

With Odendaal out of the picture, influential lock Reinhard Nothnagel takes over the captaincy.

Earlier this week, Van Rooyen stressed the need to look ahead: “This game gives us an opportunity as a franchise to cast our eye towards the future, and we believe that this group will form part of that core.

“There will be a few guys in the match 23 who will be relishing the opportunity to make a name for themselves against international opposition."

“In saying that, the Dragons will be a tough outfit to play at a vibrant Rodney Parade. We've planned and trained well this week so the guys we’ll be up for it come Saturday,” concluded Van Rooyen.

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Elsewhere, exciting loose forward Jarod Cairns and gifted tighthead prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye could make an appearance from the bench.

Lions – 15 Quan Horn, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Matt More, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel (c), 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 JP Smith

Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Ruben Schoeman, 20 Jarod Cairns, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.

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@MikeGreenaway67

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