JOHANNESBURG – The much-anticipated showdown between South Africa’s two leading No 10s – Elton Jantjies and Lionel Cronje – which was set to play out at Ellis Park on Sunday will no longer take place.
Sadly, King pivot Cronje – who has been one of the finds of the Super Rugby season and was this week included in the SA “A” team for the matches against the French Barbarians next month – has had to withdraw from the match.
Cronje hurt his jaw during the Springbok training camp in Johannesburg this week and underwent surgery to insert a plate on Thursday.
His place in the side has been taken by Pieter-Steyn de Wet.
Jantjies though will be in the Lions No 10 jersey after being named in the Bok squad on Tuesday. In fact, Lions boss Johan Ackermann has picked a near full-strength side for the match, which kicks off at 2.30pm on Sunday.
In two changes to the team that started a week ago, Faf de Klerk comes into the starting team in place of Ross Cronje who’ll attend his brother, Guy’s, wedding, while Robbie Coetzee gets a run at hooker in place of Malcolm Marx.
Ruan Combrinck, who came into the starting team at the last minute last Saturday, has retained his place. In further news Jaco Kriel returns to the side for the first time in five weeks after recovering from a knee injury.
He will play off the bench.
For the Kings, tighthead prop Ross Geldenhuys will captain the side in place of Cronje. Also missing out this week is loose-forward Andisa Ntsila, but the good news for the Kings is that Chris Cloete is back and so, too, is Malcolm Jaer.
Lions: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley (capt), Ruan Ackermann, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Andries Coetzee, Ruan Dreyer, Robbie Coetzee, Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Jaco Kriel, Dillon Smit, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink/Sylvian Mahuza
Kings: Malcolm Jaer, Alshaun Bock, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Louis Schreuder, Tyler Paul, Stefan Willemse, Chris Cloete, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Irne Herbst, Ross Geldenhuys (capt), Martin Bezuidenhout, Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Mzamo Majola, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Ungerer, Ntabeni Dukisa, Nicolaas Hanekom