American Eagles number 8 JJ Gagiano, who played for the EP Kings last year, has joined the Lions until the end of the season and will start for his new province’s Vodacom Cup side this weekend.
Capped 14 times at national level, including appearing for the US side at last year’s World Cup, the Cape Town-born Gagiano captained UCT in the Varsity Cup before moving on to higher honours. The Lions have apparently retained his services after he impressed on trial this week, citing a desire to increase their depth at loose forward. Said CEO Ruben Moggee “[depth] was needed, given the duration of Super Rugby. We’ve already witnessed how big a role injuries play. JJ is a physical player and counts among two or three that really stood out for America in the World Cup.”
The Lions have included a number of Super Rugby fringe players in their side to face the Valke, taking advantage of the team’s bye in Round 4. Andries Coetzee, who impressed on debut against the Sharks last week, will start at flyhalf as the Golden Lions seek their first Vodacom Cup win of the campaign. They lost to the Leopards in the opening round.
15 James Kamana, 14 Anthony Volminck, 13 Ruan Combrinck, 12 Robert de Bruyn (captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Andries Coetzee, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Stephan Greeff, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Ruan Lerm, 20 Nico Kruger, 21 Marais Schmidt, 22 Bradley MoolmanTweet