JOHANNESBURG – The Lions team announced by the franchise on Tuesday for this weekend’s round 11 Super Rugby match against the Crusaders in Christchurch shows four changes from the side that beat the Chiefs last Friday.
Ruan Combrinck comes in at fullback in place of the rested Andries Coetzee, Shaun Reynolds starts at 10 in place of the injured Gianni Lombard, while Nic Groom swaps places at scrumhalf with Ross Cronje.
And upfront, hooker Robbie Coetzee gets a chance in place of Malcolm Marx, who has returned to South Africa from New Zealand to rest, according to the nationally contracted players’ game management protocols.
In the most interesting pick of the week, though, regular No 10 Elton Jantjies will again play at inside centre, where he started last week after being rushed into the starting team hours before the kickoff in Hamilton.
The Lions are coming off a morale-boosting 23-17 win against the Chiefs.
However, they are currently without a head coach after Swys de Bruin left the squad in New Zealand late last week because of alleged stress-related problems.
The team’s defence coach Joey Mongalo is also no longer part of the touring squad after he, too, returned to Joburg after being found guilty by a Sydney court last week of sexual harassment – stemming from an incident that took place in a stairwell at a hotel last year.
Ivan van Rooyen, the Lions’ conditioning coach, has been put in charge of the team.
It is not known who actually selected the side to face the Crusaders this week – Van Rooyen and his coaching team, captain Whiteley, or the franchise’s leaders, among them chief executive Rudolf Straeuli.
The match on Friday kicks off at 10.40am SA time.
#CRUvLIO | Shaun Reynolds will start at ten after Gianni Lombard picked up an injury and has returned home and @R_Combrinck15 gets a start in the number fifteen jumper. At nine Groom rotates with @rosscronje9.#LionsPride pic.twitter.com/mAEZSdmcdC— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) April 23, 2019
Ruan Combrinck, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Shaun Reynolds, Nic Groom, Warren Whiteley (captain), Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Marvin Orie, Stephan Lewies, Carlu Sadie, Robbie Coetzee, Sti Sithole.
Bench: Jan-Henning Campher, Nathan McBeth, Johannes Jonker, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Marnus Schoeman, Ross Cronje, Franco Naude, Tyrone Green.@jacq_west