The reason why Lions 'axed' their captain
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The final round-robin fixtures of the United Rugby Championship bring with them the winds of change at the Lions.
The Johannesburg side head to Wales to face the Dragons in Newport.
The fixture is the Lions’ final URC match of the season after they failed to qualify for the URC play-offs.
The trip would have also served as the final farewell to captain Burger Odendaal, who will join Premiership club Wasps next season.
Odendaal has not been named in the 28-man squad.
Instead, Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen will use this trip to usher in a new leadership group.
The 24-year-old lock Reinhard Nothnagel has been named as the captain, while Morné van den Berg will serve as his deputy.
“He is our captain.,” Van Rooyen said when asked about Odendaal’s omission.
“As I said in previous media briefings he was unbelievable for us this season.
“However, we are looking ahead to the future – especially with this game being the last URC match and an away match.
“I feel Saturday is a perfect situation for our three young centres to experience an away game in Europe.
“Unfortunately for Burger it is not ideal, but it is important for the team to let Nothnagel lead them and let the senior payers play a vital role.”
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Sadie and Simelane’s absence
In regards to Carlu Sadie and Wandisile Simelane’s absence, Van Rooyen revealed that the duo will miss the trip due to sickness despite the various transfer rumours.
“Sadie is recovering from COVID so he was not up for selection,” Van Rooyen said.
“Simelane has bad flu, so he has not been considered either.”
Sadie is set to join the Sharks on a two-year contract, along with teammate Vincent Tshituka.
However, last week the Lions Rugby Company Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Straeuli suggested to @rugby365com that it is not a done deal.
Meanwhile, media reports have linked Simelane with a move to the Bulls.