Lions fullback Jaco van Schalkwyk has landed a one-match suspension after receiving a red card last week, seeing Louis Ludik fill the No.15 berth for their Currie Cup clash against Griquas on Saturday.
Rugby 365 reports that Van Schalkwyk was cited and duly suspended on Wednesday after a dangerous ‘spear’ tackle on a Falcons player in their 84-13 drubbing of the Brakpan outfit last weekend
Despite losing Chris Jonck early last weekend to concussion (which sees him out of action for the next few weeks), head coach Eugene Eloff has paid tribute to centre Doppies le Grange for taking over in the unfamiliar scrumhalf position, and despite the possible effect that might have had, the team maintained their composure, a factor praised by the coach.
“The dimension that I thought had the biggest influence on the win was the fact that we kept our structure in a game that had the potential to unravel and get loose,” Eloff admitted.
“Points and credit to the boys for keeping that composure.”
In this match, he will again be looking for his team to rely on creating a solid platform and using their strengths to overcome what is likely to be a game Griquas side.
The Lions are currently in fourth place on the log, but eyeing a jump up the standings should the Cheetahs drop points to the high-riding Sharks in Durban in the later game, there is plenty riding on the outcome of this weekend’s matches.
Western Province (WP) have started their revival with the return of their Springboks from Tri-Nations duty and will certainly be going all out to reduce the nine-point deficit between fourth and fifth positions as they fight tooth and nail for a place in the semifinals.
Griquas in sixth place and three points adrift of WP still have a mathematical possibility of making the semis and should certainly not be written off. They will no doubt arrive at Coca-Cola Park as a competitive outfit with only one intention – to cause an upset.
In other team changes, Jano Vermaak is back at scrumhalf following his one-week suspension.
In the pack, Justin Wheeler takes over from Franco van der Merwe at flank, with the latter partnering Anton van Zyl at lock following the unfortunate season-ending injury to Gerhard Mostert last weekend.
In the final change, Ross Geldenhuys comes off the bench to replace Lawrence Sephaka.
Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Trompie Nontshinga, 10 Earl Rose, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Justin Wheeler, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (captain), 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Lawrence Sephaka, 18 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Louis Strydom, 21 Rayno Benjamin, 22 Dusty Noble.