Lions bulk up on Springboks
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Lions have named nine Springboks in their strong 40-man squad for the upcoming 2017 Super Rugby season.
In the beginning of 2016, the Johannesburg side only had three Springboks in their set-up namely Warren Whiteley, Elton Janjies and Lionel Mapoe. However, they still went on to beat two former champions, Crusaders and the Highlanders, before suffering a defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes in the final.
This year proves to be different as head coach Johan Ackerman has the luxury of including nine Springboks, with an additional Blitzbok, in the squad.
Springbok and Lions stalwart Warren Whitley has again the mammoth task of leading the troops in this year's competitions.
Whiteley is joined by eight fellow Springboks namely wing Ruan Combrinck, scrumhalf Francois de Klerk, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, flyhalf Jantjies, flank Jaco Kriel, centre Mapoe, hooker Malcolm Marx and lock Francois Mostert.
While Blitzbok Albertus Smith was also named in the side.
Newcomers Marvin Orie (Bulls), Hendrik van Wyk (Bulls), Justin Ackerman (Kings) and Sithembiso Sithole (Kings) also made the cut.
Despite two pre-season defeats, 17-38 to the Bulls and 40-57 Stormers respectively, the Lions' continuity and solid structures make them a formidable side for the 2017 Super Rugby Championship.
The Lions start their Super Rugby campaign away to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 25.
Forwards: Justin Ackerman, Ruan Ackermann, Fabian Booysen, Cyle Brink, Robin Coetzee, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruan Dreyer, Lourens Erasmus, Andries Ferreira, Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Jacobus Kriel, Robert Kruger, Malcolm Marx, Francois Mostert, Marvin Orie, Sithembiso Sithole, Albertus Smith, Dylan Smith, Armand van der Merwe, Jacques van Rooyen, Hendrik van Wyk, Warren Whiteley.
Backs: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje, Francois De Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Xolani Mnisi, Jacques Nel, Shaun Reynolds, COurtnall Skosan, Dillon Smith, Michael Tambwe, Jaco van der Walt, Anthony Volmink, Harold Voster