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Lions get some serious muscle back for final dash

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Lions take on Welsh side Cardiff in a crucial Round 16 United Rugby Championship match at Ellis Park on Saturday.


Fullback Quan Horn, who missed out against champions Munster in Round 15, makes a welcome return to the starting XV and with that, a 50th cap for his franchise.

Popular front row forward Asenathi Ntlabakanye returns to the tighthead position, after serving his ban.

Ntlabakanye faced a disciplinary hearing after being red-carded in the Lions’ 36-14 United Rugby Championship win over Connacht at the Sportsground in Galway.

He was slapped with a three-game suspension – with one of those added to the three-match discount he has already received, after he completed ‘tackle school’.

Springbok Ruan Dreyer starts at loosehead prop.

A new-look back row sees the injection of the powerful Ruan Venter in concert with JC Pretorius and Francke Horn.


The explosive Emmanuel Tshituka will be tasked to provide impact from the bench.

The team’s forwards and line-out specialist Barend Pieterse believes consistency from his side over the next three games will enhance their play-off chances as the race to the top-eight intensifies.

“We need to get as many points out of this week’s game, and then again next week,” Pieterse said.


“But the top-eight dream is still alive for us, and that’s genuinely something that we talk about and train for every day,” he added.

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morné van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 JP Smith, 18 Conraad van Vuren, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Hanru Sirgel, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Gianni Lombard.

Date: Saturday, May 11
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 18.15 (16.15 GMT; 17.15 IRE & UK time)
Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa) and Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

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