JOHANNESBURG – Injury doubts Aphiwe Dyantyi and Cyle Brink have been passed fit to travel with the Golden Lions for the Super Rugby final against the Canterbury Crusaders this Saturday.
After scoring a superb solo try, winger Dyantyi did not return to the field after half-time in a 44-26 semi-finals triumph over NSW Waratahs in Johannesburg last Saturday.
The young Springbok complained about a hamstring, but officials said he is likely to be fit for the decider in Christchurch, where the Crusaders have never lost a play-offs game.
An arm injury prevented flanker Brink playing against the Sydney-based Waratahs, who raced to a 14-point lead at Ellis Park before being overwhelmed in the second half.
Assuming Brink gets the green light to start, he will form the back row with Kwagga Smith and skipper and number eight Warren Whiteley.
It will be a special occasion for Springbok Whiteley as he missed the 2016 and 2017 final losses to the Wellington Hurricanes and the Crusaders due to injuries.
A Crusaders sided packed with New Zealand internationals and led by All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock are hot favourites to win a record-extending ninth title.
“I believe in miracles,” Lions coach Swys de Bruin said before flights across 10 time zones from Johannesburg to Christchurch.
“The Crusaders are favourites because they are a very good team, but it is 80 minutes between four white lines and anything can happen. Our opponents are an unreal team - they do not have too many weak spots. We are going to try and find a few chinks in their armour.”
The Lions hope to become the second South African side to be crowned Super Rugby champions after the Bulls, winners of the 2007, 2009 and 2010 finals.
The Lions squad for the Super Rugby final is:
Forwards: Cyle Brink, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruan Dreyer, Lourens Erasmus, Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Jacques van Rooyen, Marnus Schoeman, Dylan Smith, Kwagga Smith, Warren Whiteley (capt)
Backs: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Shaun Reynolds, Courtnall Skosan, Dillon Smit, Harold Vorster
Coach: Swys de Bruin (RSA)
Agence France-Presse (AFP)