Lions coach John Mitchell has named veteran Springbok flank Wikus van Heerden on the bench for what is likely to be his team’s final Currie Cup match of the season.
The Lions will face the Pumas in a Round 14 match in Johannesburg and can only slip into the play-offs through the backdoor if either the Blue Bulls or Free State Cheetahs fail to collect any points in their respective matches against Griquas and the Leopards this weekend.
While Mitchell’s men are expected to collect a full-house five points against the Pumas, they still need a huge favour from either Griquas or the Leopards.
After naming his team, it was also revealed that Mitchell was still sweating over the fitness of star inside centre Doppies la Grange, who pulled a hamstring early in last week’s 37-43 loss to the Cheetahs.
La Grange has been bracketed with Burton Francis at No.12 for Friday’s game. This also has a knock-on effect on the replacements bench – where Francis, Marius Delport and youngster Wandile Mjekevu have all been bracketed around the utility backline positions.
The forward pack shows several changes for the final league fixture – the most noteworthy being the loose forward combination.
Warren Whiteley starts at No.8, Joshua Strauss moves from eighthman to blindside flank and Van Heerden drops down to the bench.
Trevor Hall also starts ahead of George Earle at lock.
Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies la Grange/Burton Francis, 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe (captain), 4 Trevor Hall, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Wayne Swart, 18 Johan Snyman, 19 Wikus van Heerden, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Francis/Marius Delport, 22 Delport/Wandile Mjekevu.
Date: Friday, October 8
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Madel de Villiers
TMO: Johann Meuwesen
This article is courtesy of rugby365.comTweet