JOHANNESBURG – Lions boss Swys de Bruin has made seven changes to his starting team following last week’s shock round three Super Rugby loss to the Bulls at Ellis Park.
There are also several changes among the replacements for this Saturday’s match against the Jaguares, kicking off at 3pm.
Out of the matchday squad - because of form, injury, or rotation - from last week are Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Nic Groom, Hacjivah Dayimani, Sti Sithole and Robert Kruger.
De Bruin’s new midfield consists of exciting former SA U-20 star Wandisile Simelane and Franco Naude, who is on loan from the Bulls, while Sylvian Mahuza gets an opportunity on the wing.
In the loose-trio, Kwagga Smith moves to No 8 with Vincent Tshituka, a former Northcliff High School pupil, getting a run as blindside flank. Joining Rhyno Herbst at lock will be Ruan Vermaak, with the front row unchanged.
New faces on the bench include former Junior Boks prop prop Nathan McBeth, loose-forward James Venter and either Gianni Lombard or Tyrone Green - both former SA U-20 players.
Good news for the Lions is that Bok scrumhalf Ross Cronje is back in the starting team after returning from injury and sitting on the bench a week ago.
Unfortunately lock Marvin Orie and flank Cyle Brink are still sidelined, along with Warren Whiteley.
The Lions go into this weekend’s match on the back of consecutive losses - against the Stormers and Bulls, while the Jaguares have won back-to-back games against the Bulls and Blues.
The Lions team is:
Andries Coetzee; Sylvian Mahuza, Wandisile Simelane, Franco Naude, Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje; Kwagga Smith, Vincent Tshituka, Marnus Schoeman, Rhyno Herbst, Ruan Vermaak, Carlu Sadie, Malcom Marx, Dylan Smith.
Reserves: Pieter Jansen, Nathan McBeth, Frans van Wyk, Stephan Lewies, James Venter, Dillon Smit, Harold Vorster, Gianni Lombard/Tyrone Green@jacq_west