Lions' Bok back after tragedy
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Lions will have more to play for than just points on the table when they face the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
The return of veteran Springbok Jannie du Plessis will ensure there is added motivation for the visiting team.
Du Plessis returns to the matchday 23 for the first time since the tragic incident last month when his 10-month-old son drowned on the same day he celebrated his 39th birthday.
Having won the last of his 70 caps for the Boks in 2015, he will play off the bench.
The Lions have made one forced change to their match 23 for their trip down to Cape Town.
Besides the late withdrawal of Springbok tighthead Ruan Dreyer, due to an injury concern, coach Ivan van Rooyen maintained the same side who would have done duty against Welsh outfit Cardiff last week.
Du Plessis comes in as cover for the injured Dreyer in a match that will see speedster Edwill van der Merwe make his Lions debut against his former franchise.
The Lions coach expressed his side’s disappointment after not having played last week’s fixture but praised his troops for their positive spirit this week as they prepare for the local derby.
“We’re quite pleased that an arrangement was made by SA Rugby and the URC for local games to be played this weekend after last week’s uncertainty,” said Van Rooyen.
“Despite a change in opposition, we have prepared well and made the mental shift ahead of the match down in Cape Town on Saturday,” he concluded.
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 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Matt More 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.
Date: Saturday, December 4
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)