Lions name rotated squad for Stormers clash
JOHANNESBURG – Head coach Ivan van Rooyen has decided to continue to experiment with his matchday 23 when the Lions trot out against the Stormers in their final preparation match this weekend.
The Lions coach has made several changes to the side that narrowly defeated the Sharks 43-40 a week ago, and much like that team, this one presents an unenviable depth of experienced players and youngsters alike. The biggest change in the selection comes within the loose-forwards, where Van Rooyen has opted to introduce incumbent eightman Len Massyn to the starting XV. The 23-year-old will be joined by Vincent Tshituka, who had an noteworthy outing last weekend, and will also see the return of the exciting Sibusiso Sangweni.
EW Viljoen, replacing Tiaan Swanepoel, will return from his short injury stint to pull on the No 15 jumper, while 2019 Pro14's top try scorer, Rabz Maxwane, finally makes a welcome return to the team at wing. The back-three is completed by Stean Pienaar - one of the standout performers for the Joburgers during last season. The locks will also have a different look to them, with Reinhard Nothnagel and Ruben Schoeman pairing up in place of Wilhelm van der Sluys, who drops down to the bench, and veteran Willem Alberts, who will sit out the encounter on Saturday.
PJ Botha is also welcomed back with a starting berth at hooker, taking over from Jan-Henning Campher. Unfortunately, the exceptional Sti Sithole has not yet fully recovered from his injury, which results in Springbok Ruan Dreyer once again packing down at loose-head.
After a short cameo last weekend against the Shark, former Cheetahs flyhalf, Fred Zeilinga, gets another opportunity off of the bench and will pair-up with either Ross Cronje, or Morne van den Berg at scrumhalf.
The team will be captained by Elton Jantjies, and kick-off is at 5.15pm.
Lions Starting XV: EW Viljoen; Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Dan Kriel, Sibahle Maxwane; Elton Jantjies (capt), Ross Croné, Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka, Sibusiso Sangweni, Reinhard Nothnagel, Ruben Schoeman, Carlu Sadie, PJ Botha, Ruan Dreyer;
Replacements: Jan-Henning Campher, Nathan McBeth, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Wilhelm van der Sluys, MJ Pelser, Morné van den Berg, Fred Zeilinga, Burger Odendaal.