Lions produce midfield bolter for Stormers
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has produced a midfield surprise ahead of the Super Rugby Round Three encounter with the Stormers.
The Lions, with one win and one loss from the first two rounds, host the table-topping Stormers at Ellis Park on Saturday.
In the only change to the starting line-up that beat the Reds last week, Manuel Rass comes in at outside centre in the place of Duncan Matthews.
The other surprise is that veteran Springbok Willem Alberts has been named on the bench – despite a media release from the Lions earlier in the week stating that he is unavailable.
According to the Lions’ media release earlier in the week, Alberts had not recovered sufficiently from a bicep injury.
However, the coach, Van Rooyen, said he came through a couple of training sessions this week and felt comfortable enough to be selected.
“Willem had some scar tissue that was hurting from last week,” the coach said, adding: “He came through the Tuesday session well, so it was nice for us to select him.”
Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje, who is available after recovering from his ankle injury, has not been called up to the Super Rugby team.
Cronje will captain a Lions XV that will host a Bulls XV in a curtain raiser.
Meanwhile, prop Dylan Smith will run out in his 50th Super Rugby game.
The burly prop made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 and have scored two tries.
“This milestone represents a lot of hard work for me,” Smith said.
“I have come through a few injuries and setbacks over the years and I am just grateful to have got to 50 caps for the Lions,” he added.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Morné van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Wandisile Simelane.
Date: Saturday, February 15
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)