JOHANNESBURG - Lions boss Swys de Bruin has made six changes to his side for their Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.
It is the Lions’ fourth and final tour game after earlier beating the Waratahs in Sydney and losing to the Reds (Brisbane) and Hurricanes (Wellington).
De Bruin and Co have stated a win against the Dunedin-based side would make the four-stop tour a success so victory will be paramount for the visitors.
The Lions, with a six from 11 record this season, are still comfortable leaders in the SA Conference, but the Jaguares, Stormers, Sharks and Bulls could all still overtake them should results go their way in the coming weeks and months.
The two main changes to the side that was beaten by the Hurricanes last week are in the front row where Robbie Coetzee replaces the injured Malcolm Marx at hooker, and alongside him prop Johannes Jonkler gets a run at tighthead prop.
The locks are Andries Ferreira and Marvin Orie, while the backrow will comprise Kwagga Smith at No 8, Franco Mostert at blindside flank and Cyle Brink at openside. The backline is unchanged.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders have rested scrumhalf Aaron Smith for the match, in agreement with New Zealand rugby, with an eye on the June Test series against France.
Lions team: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert (capt), Cyle Brink, Andries Ferreira, Marvin Orie, Johannes Jonker, Robbie Coetzee, Dylan Smith. Replacements: Jacques van Rooyen, Ruan Dreyer, Jacobie Adriaanse, Lourens Erasmus, Marnus Schoeman, Dillon Smit, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Sylvian Mahuza.
Highanders team: Ben Smith (capt), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Tevita Nabura, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Luke Whitelock, James Lentjes, Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Alex Ainley, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: Ash Dixon, Aki Seiuli, Kalolo Tuiloma, Josh Dickson, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Josh Renton, Josh Ioane, Sio Tomkinson.