Flank Jaco Kriel will lead the Lions in the absence of the injured Warren Whiteley. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG: Lions boss Johan Ackermann has made his intentions clear ahead of his team’s Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves at Ellis Park on Saturday by picking his strongest available XV.

All the Lions’ Springbok players, except for injured captain Warren Whiteley (pelvis) have been included in the side as the Lions look to bank another five points as the competitions heads to the business end.

Already secure of playing at home in the playoffs, having won 12 of 13 matches so far, the Lions want to keep picking up the points to keep the pressure on the overall log leaders, the Crusaders, who’re unbeaten so far, but only in action again in two weeks’ time. If the Lions keep winning and the Crusaders slip up in their last game, Ackermann’s men could finish top overall and give themselves the best chance of winning the competition. 

After next week’s bye, the Lions wrap up their round-robin fixture list with an outing against the Sharks in Durban. With Whiteley out – he’ll miss the rest of the competition – Ruan Ackermann takes over at No 8 with the flank positions being filled by Jaco Kriel, the new captain, and Kwagga Smith.

Recent Boks who turned out against France who’ll feature this weekend are Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Kriel, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Courtnall Skosan, and Andries Coetzee. Andries Ferreira, Ackermann, Harold Vorster and Ruan Combrinck represented the SA “A” side against the French Barbarians.

Kickoff on Saturday is 5.15pm.


15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel (capt), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen. Bench: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Johannes Jonker, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Cyle Brink, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Sylvian Mahuza.


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