Lions get Bok flank back for Scarlets clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok Jaco Kriel makes a return to the Lions’ starting XV for Sunday’s United Rugby Championship match against the Scarlets at Ellis Park.
The powerful loose forward will wear his regular No.6 jersey after a lengthy period on the sidelines due to injury.
Flank Darrien Landsberg makes his URC debut for the franchise, forming a dynamic loose-trio combination with Kriel and the athletic Emmanuel Tshituka.
Francke Horn and Ruhan Straeuli were not considered for selection this week due to injury.
The Joburg side will be looking to claim a second successive victory in front of their home fans after a 33-25 win against Welsh outfit Dragons last Sunday.
Lions team boss Ivan Rooyen has identified the attacking nature of the Scarlets team and has prepared his side for a dynamic encounter in what is predicted to be sweltering conditions.
“We know Scarlets are a team who enjoy attacking and keeping ball in play. If you look at their game against the Stormers last week, the last 15-20 minutes featured plenty attack from them which puts teams under huge defensive pressure,” cautioned van Rooyen.
“Reflecting on our fixture against them last year, we learnt huge defensive lessons and it’s something we’ve taken stock of ahead of Sunday,” he added.
Van Rooyen has challenged his troops to explore attacking options rather than to defend for long periods.
“It’s important for us not to sit back and try defend their attacking game but also see how our attacking game can put them under pressure. They are a team that keeps the ball in play, so I think it will be a great running spectacle on Sunday, which will be great for fans,” he concluded.
Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Emmanuel Tshituka, 7 Darrien Landsberg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel (captain), 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Sithembiso Sithole
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Jean-Pierre Smith, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Ruan Venter, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Gianni Lombard, 23 Zander du Plessis.
Date: Sunday, December 4
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 13.30 (11.30 UK & Ireland time; 11.30 GMT)
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Christopher Allison (South Africa)
TMO: Frank Murphy (Ireland)