JOHANNESBURG – Lions boss Swys de Bruin has backed rookies Madosh Tambwe (wing) and loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani to help turn the team’s fortunes around after suffering two losses out of their last three games when they host the Crusaders at Ellis Park on Sunday.
Tambwe comes into the side in place of the injured Aphiwe Dyantyi while Dayimani comes in at No 8 for his first start of the 2018 Super Rugby campaign.
The athletic Dayimani, who has also played wing in recent weeks, joins Kwagga Smith and Cyle Brink in a new-look back row.
There’s also a recall for centre Harold Vorster and lock Andries Ferreira, neither of whom travelled to Buenos Aires last week for the match against the Jaguares.
Scrumhalf Dillon Smit also makes a first start for the Lions after playing off the bench last week.
Ross Cronjé, who has struggled with injury in recent weeks, is still not involved and is set to only return to the fray next week for the Stormers match.
Interestingly, De Bruin has backed former prop Corné Fourie as his replacement hooker on the bench, which is a six-two split of forwards and backs, with just Howard Mnisi and Shaun Reynolds among the backline subs.
The Lions go into the match on the back of losing to the Blues, just edging past the Sunwolves and losing to the Jaguares last weekend.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, who have also lost twice already this season, welcome back loose forward Matt Todd for the match.
The tourists also have wing Seta Tamanivalu back in the mix and scrumhalf Bryn Hall too.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 2.30pm.
Teams For Ellis Park
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee 14 Sylvian Mahuza 13 Lionel Mapoe 12 Harold Vorster 11 Madosh Tambwe 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Dillon Smit 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Cyle Brink 6 Kwagga Smith 5 Franco Mostert (captain) 4 Andries Ferreira 3 Ruan Dreyer 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Dylan Smith.
Bench: 16 Corné Fourie 17 Jacques van Rooyen 18 Jacobie Adriaanse 19 Marvin Orie 20 Lourens Erasmus 21 Marnus Schoeman 22 Howard Mnisi 23 Shaun Reynolds.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili 14 Seta Tamanivalu 13 Jack Goodhue 12 Ryan Crotty 11 George Bridge 10 Mitchell Hunt 9 Bryn Hall 8 Jordan Taufua 7 Matt Todd 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis 5 Sam Whitelock 4 Scott Barrett 3 Michael Alaalatoa 2 Codie Taylor 1 Tim Perry.
Bench: 16 Ben Funnell 17 Wyatt Crockett 18 Oliver Jager 19 Quinten Strange 20 Tom Sanders 21 Mitchell Drummond 22 Mike Delany 23 Manasa Mataele.