Kwagga Smith will start at No 8 against the Jaguares on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Lions coach Swys de Bruin has handed scrumhalf Marco Janse van Vuren and flank Robert Kruger first-time starts this season when they come up against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires in a Super Rugby match on Saturday.

Janse van Vuren, who played for the Junior Boks a few years ago, comes in for the injured Ross Cronje, while Kruger gets a run in the loose-trio with Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel injured.

In the revamped back-row Kwagga Smith moves to No 8, with Cyle Brink at openside flank.

“Robert Kruger gets a run at seven after really training well and he also had good game last week (when he came on as a replacement against the Sunwolves). It means Kwagga moves to eight, which will be no problem as he played there in the Currie Cup,” explained De Bruin.

In the other changes to the team that edged the men from Japan last weekend, wing Sylvian Mahuza is back in his No 14 jersey, while in midfield Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who played wing last week, joins Lionel Mapoe in a powerful centre combination.

In the second row Franco Mostert, who’ll again lead the team in Whiteley’s absence, teams up with Marvin Orie, while the whole front row is changed from last week.

The regular props, Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen, are back after having a week off, while Robbie Coetzee gets a chance at hooker in place of Malcolm Marx, who’ll play off the bench.

The Lions have yet to win in Buenos Aires after losing there in 2016 and 2017 - albeit with a weakened side - and this time push a strong team, with lots of experience, into action.

The match kicks off at 9.40pm on Saturday.

The Lions team is: 

Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Marco Janse van Vuren, Kwagga Smith, Robert Kruger, Cyle Brink, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Ruan Dreyer, Robbie Coetzee, Jacques van Rooyen. 

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Dylan Smith, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Len Massyn, Dillon Smit, Howard Mnisi, Shaun Reynolds

IOL Sport

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