Alberts at lock, Tshituka at flank against Bulls
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok Willem Alberts is set to start in the second row for the Lions ahead of their Round 9 United Rugby Championship (URC) encounter against the Bulls this Saturday.
He replaces Pieter Jansen van Vuren who suffered a pectoral muscle injury during training this week.
This means that former Junior Springbok Ruan Venter, fresh from Currie Cup duty, could get an opportunity off the bench in the eagerly anticipated Trans-Jukskei Derby.
Elsewhere, Emmanuel Tshituka wears the seven jersey, with PJ Botha coming in at hooker for the injured Jaco Visagie.
Morne Brandon, Ruhan Straeuli and Sibusiso Sangweni complete the new additions to the replacements.
Lions Head Coach Ivan van Rooyen: “I feel for Pieter. He worked so hard to come back from his knee injury he suffered on tour.
“We wish him a speedy recovery from this latest setback.
“The opportunity now awaits Ruan, who’s had a fantastic past few months, including a SA Rugby U20 Cup winner’s medal. He could possibly get his chance on Saturday.
“Providing opportunities to young players is a common theme for us here at the franchise and it’s something we pride ourselves in.
“In the same breath, the entire squad buys into what we are trying to achieve in the URC , so everyone plays a key part towards that goal, concluded van Rooyen.”
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Willem Alberts, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Venter, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Sibusiso Sangweni, 22 Morne van den Berg, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.
Date: Saturday, January 29
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron & Griffin Colby
TMO: AJ Jacobs