Under-fire Lions get serious muscle back
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Lions have made some significant adjustments to their matchday 23 ahead of the United Rugby Championship Round Six catch-up match against Glasgow Warriors at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The backline shows just one change – Sanele Nohamba starting at scrumhalf ahead of Morné van den Berg, who drops down to the replacement bench.
It is in the pack, and the loose forwards in particular, where the key changes are.
Powerful No.8 Francke Horn returns after undergoing ankle surgery back in December.
His return means Emmanuel Tshituka moves to the blindside flank, with Ruan Venter shifting to lock and Willem Alberts getting a ‘rest’ this week.
Venter has been named in the starting XV and agreed to play, despite the tragic passing of his father earlier in the week.
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— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) February 21, 2023
Scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys was full of praise for Venter’s decision to make himself available, despite the family bereavement.
“It is very noble of him to still put himself up for selection after what happened,” he said.
“The boys will pull together to make it a good day for him as well.”
He added that Alberts ‘deserves’ the rest.
Redelinghuys said Horn was the preferred No.8 before his unfortunate injury in a URC clash against the Dragons back in December.
“He adds a fair bit to our attack on the edges and our set-piece,” the retired Bok prop said, adding that Horn is also a valuable line-out option and an intelligent player.
“With Manu [Emmanuel Tshituka] likes to get stuck into the thick of things.”
Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Sibahle Maxwane, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith.
Replacements: 16 Morné Brandon, 17 Rynhardt Runsburger, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruhan Delport, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, 23 Andries Coetzee.
Date: Saturday, February 25
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16.15 (14.15 Ireland & UK; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)