JOHANNESBURG – Almost forgotten Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck is back in the Lions team for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the Stormers at Newlands.
Combrinck effectively takes the place of fellow Bok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, who has moved to the bench in a rotational switch.
Courtnall Skosan, who played on the right wing last week against the Jaguares, is on the left wing.
Also back in the Lions side following their win in Buenos Aires is flank Kwagga Smith, who has recovered from injury.
He’ll form a dynamic and speedy loose trio with captain Warren Whiteley and Marnus Schoeman, who keeps his place in the starting team after he scored three tries against the Jaguares.
“It’s a World Cup year, so we have to make sure we rotate the players. We won the game last weekend, so there was no need really to make changes; no one had a bad game,” said coach Swys de Bruin about Combrinck coming in for bench-sitter Dyantyi.
New lock Stephan Lewies, who has joined from the Sharks, is set to make his first start in Lions colours after he missed out last week because of illness.
And regarding his new-look loose trio, De Bruin said: “We’ve done it before (successfully against the Waratahs last season), and we’re expecting the Stormers to come hard at us after their defeat last week.
“It’s the one area where we must be very good,” added De Bruin. “To play with two six flankers is not a bad idea at this stage.”
The Lions go into the game on the back of a first ever win against the Jaguares in Argentina, while the Stormers are coming off a 40-3 defeat by the Bulls.
De Bruin said nothing should be read into the first-round results.
“It’s Newlands, it’s Cape Town, the Stormers are a proud franchise, and they’ll bounce back,” said the Lions coach.
“Maybe they underestimated the Bulls (at Loftus), but the Stormers remain a very strong side. We’re under no illusion about the task facing us.
“The reality is we’ve taken 50 points before and then played well the next week. This is a SA derby, and the previous results mean nothing.”
Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Warren Whiteley (captain), Kwagga Smith, Marnus Schoeman, Stephan Lewies, Marvin Orie, Carlu Sadie, Malcolm Marx, Dylan Smith.
Bench: Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole, Jacobie Adriaanse, Rhyno Herbst, Hacjivah Dayimani, Gianni Lombard, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Sylvian Mahuza.@jacq_west