Home Sport Lions beef up with 11 URC players for Pumas Currie Cup clash

Lions beef up with 11 URC players for Pumas Currie Cup clash

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The Lions have brought out the big guns and named a host of United Rugby Championship players for their clash against Currie Cup champions, the Pumas.

Gianni Lombard will be at flyhalf for the Lions’ Currie Cup clash against the Pumas this weekend. File Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Cape Town — Eleven United Rugby Championship (URC) players will strengthen the Lions as they host reigning champions the Pumas in the Currie Cup on Friday (kickoff 17:00).

The Johannesburg side didn’t waste any time bringing in their big guns as they look to find their way to the top of the competition’s points table with the team dwindling in second last place after the first round of matches.

It’s the perfect place, in front of their home fans, to breathe new life into their campaign after suffering five losses in seven matches without their URC stars.

Lions Currie Cup coach Mziwakhe Nkosi will be hoping that the players available to him will make an immediate statement, especially because the match is against the champions who are comfortable on top of the log.

The Lions are currently 15 points behind the Mbombela side and can leap towards the top four with a win on Friday.

But they’ll have to do it without influential players like winger Edwill van der Merwe, lively scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba, centre Marius Louw, hooker PJ Botha, prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye, and outside back Quan Horn who will not feature after getting a rest.

They are the ones who have played over 90% of the Lions’ games across the three competitions this season.

Four players in lock Willem Alberts, loosie Emmanuel Tshituka, lock Reinhard Nothnagel and centre Henco van Wyk will not feature due to injuries.

Darrien Landsberg, Lions lock, said it will be great to have their URC players back in the side as they look to push to get to the top four on the log.

“It’s a massive boost for us having the URC guys, they come with a lot of energy and excitement. They’ve bought into our plan,” Landsberg said.

“Round one didn’t go according to plan, it’s not the results we wanted. We know now what we have to do. Winning is non-negotiable and we will do whatever we have to get the results. We need to get the points to secure a playoff spot.

“But it doesn’t get any easier (facing the Pumas on Friday). They are the defending champions and are playing like the defending champions. It’s definitely an opportunity for the boys to come together again.

“When we do play rugby, we play some seriously dangerous rugby. But we need to play for 80 minutes and if we do that, we will give the Pumas a hard time.”

Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Prince Nkabinde, 13. Manuel Rass, 12. Rynhardt Jonker, 11. Rabz Maxwane, 10. Gianni Lombard, 9. Morne van den Berg, 8. Francke Horn, 7. Travis Gordon, 6. JC Pretorius, 5. Darrien-Lane Landsberg, 4. Ruben Schoeman, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Rynhardt Rijnsburger.

Replacements: 16. Morne Brandon, 17, Kayden Kiewit, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Raynardt Roets, 20. Ruhan Straeuli, 21. Nico Steyn, 22. Vaughen Isaacs, 23. Stean Pienaar.

@Leighton_K

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