JOHANNESBURG – The Lions have taken a major gamble by selecting a third lock – to play at flank – in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Waratahs at Ellis Park.
A shoulder injury suffered by regular No 7 Cyle Brink in the Jaguares quarter-final last weekend hasn’t healed in time for him to take on the Waratahs.
Lock Lourens Erasmus has now been added to the starting team, to play at blindside flank, with coach Swys de Bruin sticking with his usual lock pairing of Franco Mostert and Marvin Orie.
Coming onto the bench is Hacjivah Dayimani, the versatile loose-forward, who didn’t feature against the Jaguares.
“I didn’t want to change the lock pairing because they’ve been playing so well together,” said De Bruin, explaining why he didn’t consider moving Mostert to the flank, a position he has played at times this season.
“Lourens has played eight before and also played flank at school, so it’s not something unfamiliar to him. But, our four, five, and seven inter-change anyway during a game and we’re likely to swap Franco and Lourens around at times on Saturday, too.”
The Lions are chasing a place in the final for the third year in a row, having lot to the Hurricanes and Crusaders respectively in the last two finals.
The rest of the Lions team is unchanged from last weekend’s win against the Jaguares.
The Lions team is:
Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (capt), Lourens Erasmus, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: Corne Fourie, Dylan Smith, Johannes Jonker, Hacjivah Dayimani, Marnus Schoeman, Dillon Smit, Courtnall Skosan, Howard Mnisi@jacq_west