Auto and General Lions coach Dick Muir has made no less than eight changes to his squad to face the Brumbies in their Vodacom Super 14 match in Canberra on Friday.
As expected Muir chose to rotate his outfit against the Brumbies, who pose a very different challenge to that of the Chiefs and Hurricanes, whom the Lions lost to in the last two weeks of the competition.
“We have chosen to rotate the squad a bit, to get some fresh legs in,” Muir told Supersport.com. “We have a number of guys who have played the first three games and we decided to give some of the other players a go.”
While he would not have started, kingpin Carlos Spencer faces a late fitness test to decide if he plays off the bench or not. Spencer, who is struggling with a pectoral muscle strain, will be replaced on the bench by teenager Wandile Mjekevu if he isn’t fit.
Brenden Nel reports that Muir has effectively changed his back three and front row, hoping it will prove a good counter to the Brumbies phase play game plan.
Michael Killian, who has shone coming off the bench, gets a start in the place of Earl Rose, while Dusty Noble gets his first start of the season in the place of Mjekevu.
With Deon van Rensburg on his way back to South Africa, Walter Venter slots in as Doppies la Grange’s midfield partner.
Former Bull Burton Francis gets his first start in the flyhalf jersey, while Willem Stoltz returns after a one-week suspension for foul play. Stoltz replaces Franco van der Merwe, who has started in all the Lions games previously.
Up front, hooker Charles Emslie replaces Hannes Franklin while JC Janse van Rensburg takes the place of Heinke van der Merwe.
Rose, Franklin and both Van der Merwe’s are on the bench for this weekend’s match.
Lions: Michael Killian, Tonderai Chavanga, Walter Venter, Doppies la Grange, Dusty Noble, Burton Francis, JP Joubert, Todd Clever, Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar (capt.), Willem Stoltz, George Earl, Kevin Buys, Charles Emslie, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: Hannes Franklin, Heinke van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Jacques Lombaard/Robert Kruger, Jacques Coetzee, Carlos Spencer/Wandile Mjekevu, Earl Rose.Tweet