Four players will make their first appearance for the Lions after previously featuring for the Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs.
JOHANNESBURG – The Lions have included four debutants in their team for their Super Rugby Unlocked opener against the Sharks at Kings Park, in Durban, on Friday.
Jaco Visagie, Rabz Maxwane, Burger Odendaal and EW Viljoen are all set to make their first appearances for the Lions.
Odendaal (centre) and Visagie (hooker) are former Bulls players who made the switch across the Jukskei River from Pretoria to Johannesburg during the national lockdown, while the versatile Viljoen, who can operate with equal efficiency in midfield, previously played for the Stormers.
Maxwane (wing) also relocated to Johannesburg recently after making a name for himself as a try-scoring machine for the Cheetahs in the Pro14.
Wiehahn Herbst, who played for the Sharks and Bulls earlier in his career, is another new recruit that is set to make his debut for the Pride of Jozi after he was named on the bench.
Former Springbok loose forward Willem Alberts has been named at lock, where he will partner Marvin Orie.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen named four players in the starting team who were in action in the Springbok Showdown in Cape Town last week.
Carlu Sadie, Orie, Vincent Tshituka and Elton Jantjies all played in Green and Gold clash over the weekend in Cape Town, while four more Lions players who were involved in the match at Newlands – Dylan Smith, Ruan Dreyer, Gianni Lombard and Wandisile Simelane – were included among the replacements for Friday evening’s visit to Durban.
Lions Team (15-1): EW Viljoen, Jamba Ulengo, Burger Odendaal, Dan Kriel, Rabz Maxwane, Elton Jantjies (captain), Dillon Smit; Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka, Jaco Kriel, Marvin Orie, Willem Alberts, Carlu Sadie, Jaco Visagie, Sti Sithole. Bench (16-25): Jan-Henning Campher, Dylan Smith, Wiehahn Herbst, Wilhelm van der Sluys, MJ Pelser, Hacjivah Dayimani, Morné van den Berg, Gianni Lombard, Wandisile Simelane, Ruan Dreyer.
African News Agency (ANA)