Injuries force Lions into surprise flyhalf selection
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen named a new-look match 23 ahead of his team’s Round Three United Rugby Championship fixture against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday.
EW Viljoen covers the flyhalf position as a result of injuries to both Jordan Hendrikse and Eddie Fouche.
Hendrikse fractured his right ankle during the Lions’ second-round match against Scarlets last week.
The young playmaker is expected to be out of action for at least three months.
Fouche injured his ankle in training on Thursday and has been sent for scans – with the next 48 hours important in determining the length of his lay-off.
Van Rooyen said they are waiting on clarity from the URC to determine if they are able to fly in a replacement.
Also at the back, Stean Pienaar, Divan Rossouw and centre, Manuel Rass picks up their first starts of the tour.
“Injuries are a reality of the game,” said Van Rooyen.
“Losing both Jordan and Eddie is obviously a massive blow for us, meaning we had to make a few adjustments as we prepare for Saturday.
“With the COVID-19 regulations it’s been quite a challenge, however we are doing our best to cope with the situation. Hopefully now with the relaxation of the travel ban to the UK, in consultation with URC, we can get a replacement to join the squad as soon as possible.”
Van Rooyen went on to add that this would be an ideal opportunity for other members of the squad to take their chance.
“It also provides a few guys in the squad with an opportunity to showcase their talent against quality opposition in the URC,” he concluded.
Up front, Jannie du Plessis and Sithembiso Sithole start at tighthead and loosehead respectively, with Ruhan Straeuli packing down at the back of the scrum.
Lions: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 EW Viljoen, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Ruhan Straeuli, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Matt More, 23 Wandisile Simelane.
Date: Saturday, October 9
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Kick-off: 15.05 (16.05 SA time; 14.05 GMT)
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: David Sutherland (Scotland), Dunx McClement (Scotland)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)