JOHANNESBURG – After spending the last nine months on the sidelines, flank Cyle Brink is back in the Lions team for Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Sharks at Ellis Park.
And, in a surprising move, coach Swys de Bruin has opted to pick Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi at outside centre.
Those are the most interesting selections made by De Bruin following his team’s bye weekend.
Brink returns to the fray after hurting his knee during a Springbok training camp last August – which robbed him of a chance of making his national debut.
Earlier in the year, he was also struck down by an injury which prevented him from running out against England in the three-Test June series.
But Brink is now back in the Lions side and likely to come up against, among others, Du Preez twins Jean-Luc and Daniel in the much-anticipated round eight match this Friday.
Brink will join Marnus Schoeman and Ruan Vermaak (No 8) in the Lions back row.
Dyantyi, who was World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of 2018, has been picked at outside centre, alongside Lionel Mapoe, who’ll wear the No 12 on his back.
De Bruin said the Bok winger could slot in almost anywhere in the backline.
“He’s a footballer. He’s comfortable out wide and in the centres, and if you remember, he started out at flyhalf,” said De Bruin.
In other changes to the team that beat the Sunwolves two Saturdays ago, Andries Coetzee is back at fullback, rookie Tyrone Green shifts to the wing, and Ross Cronje starts at scrumhalf in place of Nic Groom.
The Lions will celebrate Lionel Mapoe’s 99th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the union on Friday. The experienced winger joined the Lions back in 2011 and have gone on to score 29 tries for the men in red and white.#LionsPride #LIOvSHA pic.twitter.com/3TvwowSwkf— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) April 2, 2019
15 Andries Coetzee 14 Tyrone Green 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi 12 Lionel Mapoe 11 Courtnall Skosan 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Ross Cronje 8 Ruan Vermaak 7 Cyle Brink 6 Marnus Schoeman 5 Marvin Orie 4 Rhyno Herbst 3 Carlu Sadie 2 Malcolm Marx (captain) 1 Sti Sithole.
Bench: 16 Jan-Henning Campher 17 Nathan McBeth 18 Frans van Wyk 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys 20 Stephan Lewies 21 Hacjivah Dayimani 22 Nic Groom 23 Sylvian Mahuza/Wandisile Simelane.@jacq_west