Lions bring out the 'A' team, as Faf departs

Thu, 18 May 2017 11:41

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Lions will field their best front row when they host the Bulls in a trans-Jukskei derby at Ellis Park on Saturday.

It is the Lions' first game back home, after their historic unbeaten Australian tour in which they collected 14 out of a possible 15 points - beating the Western Force, Rebels and Brumbies along the way.

Coach Johan Ackermann made just three changes - all in the front row.

Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx and Ruan Dreyer start this week - with Armand van der Merwe, Corné Fourie and Johannes Jonker on the bench.

* Meanwhile the Lions Rugby Company confirmed that they have released discarded Springbok scrumhalf Francois de Klerk to the Sale Sharks.

De Klerk will join the English Premiership club at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

"Francois [De Klerk] is still very important to our Super Rugby campaign, as he plays a vital role in our squad system," Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the Lions Rugby Company, said.

"The player made a personal request to be released to further his career abroad and we felt we couldn't stand in his way while we also couldn't match the offer he received."

De Klerk joined the Lions in 2014 and has 58 Super Rugby appearances under his belt - which includes 12 tries (60 points).

De Klerk was full of praise for the Lions and his time with the union.

"I have loved every minute with the Lions and will miss the camaraderie with my brothers," the scrumhalf said.

"It is a special bunch of players that are more than teammates to me and is thankful for the opportunity the Lions gave me.

"I am fully committed to the Super Rugby campaign for the rest of the season."

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink.

Date: Saturday, May 20
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Lesego Legoete (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28