Springbok centre Jaque Fourie will be let loose from the kick-off when the Lions play Griquas in a Currie Cup rugby match in Kimberley on Saturday.
Fourie, who had been injured since the last round of Super 14 matches, returned to first-class rugby last weekend when he came on as a replacement during the match against the Boland Cavaliers, writes Hennie Brandt on News24.
He had 25 minutes of game time and showed no discomfort from the elbow problems that had kept him out of the game for so long.
Lions coach Eugene Eloff said on Monday Fourie would be in the starting line-up for the match in Kimberley.
The Lions will need all their big guns, because Griquas are a hard nut to crack on their own turf.
“I believe Jaque is ready to start and to play a full match. He needs a little match fitness but if he gets tired, I’ll replace him,” Eloff said.
With Fourie back in action, Springbok Jaco Pretorius is likely to move to the right wing to take over from Jannie Boshoff, who suffered a hamstring injury against Boland.
Boshoff has had hamstring problems before and may be unavailable for some time.
By beating Boland 57-17 last week, the Lions got themselves back into Currie Cup contention.
Eloff says they will take matters one match at a time from now on. “We can’t afford any slipping up and we can’t underestimate anyone. We have worked hard to get where we are and we must stay here.”
The coach also expressed sympathy with Lions hooker Willie Wepener, who missed out when the Springboks called for a replacement for Bismarck du Plessis on Sunday.
Adriaan Strauss of the Cheetahs was called upon to fly to Perth after Du Plessis had been suspended for three weeks.
“I feel sorry for Willie,” Eloff said. “Adriaan probably had the inside lane because he had come through the national systems but I’m sure Willie will get his chance.”
Leon Boshoff, who coaches the Lions’ forwards, had no doubts that Wepener should have been the man to join the Springboks for Saturday’s Tri-Nations match against Australia.
“Willie is playing well. He scrums well and his lineout throwing is excellent,” he said.
Wepener had been in contention for a Springbok berth before but an untimely shoulder injury spoiled his chances.
Lions players who are injured and unavailable for Saturday are Boshoff, wing Ryno Benjamin (ankle), centre Walter Venter (shoulder), lock Anton van Zyl (ankle) and hooker Ethienne Reyneke (groin).Tweet