Home Sport Lions call in the big guns for Griquas

Lions call in the big guns for Griquas

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Jannie du Plessis of the Emirates Lions will lead the side against Griquas. Picture: Christiaan Kotze, BackpagePix

The Lions have injected a bit of experience into their Currie Cup matchday 23 to face Griquas in Kimberley.

Johannesburg – The Lions have injected a bit of experience into their Currie Cup matchday 23, indubitably to lift themselves from the doldrums of the tournament’s basement, and back into some sort of contention when they named their team to face the Griquas, on Tuesday.

The Joburg-based side are stone-cold, dead-last in the Cup, having lost all four of their matches thus far. They have a paltry two points, and a points difference of -117.

In all their matches this season, they have conceded 40 points or more. Indeed, they currently average 52 points against them per game.

It makes for distressing reading, and although there seems to be a continued reluctance by the management to fold the United Rugby Championship and Currie Cup sides into one unit, indications are the Lions will fall back onto the services of more senior players in the weeks to come.

It arguably is not as pronounced this week as it should be – the Emirates Lions after are preparing for a URC clash against Munster, but at least there is some worldliness in the squad for the mid-week clash.

Former Springbok and veteran Jannie du Plessis, therefore, has been selected at tighthead prop and handed the captaincy by head coach Mzwakhe Nkosi, replacing previous skipper Asenathi Ntlabakanye.

Verily, this Lions side remains a young and inexperienced side but the addition of EW Viljoen, along with the continued selection of Emmanuel Tshituka, Manuel Rass and Rabz Maxwane, will help a side that is under-siege in the Currie Cup.

Maxwane, in particular, will want to impress the Lions’ higher-ups so that he can return to the URC squad post-haste.

Nkosi has also battled for consistency, and this again has reared its head in his team selection this week. In fact, only the second-row combination of Lunga Ncube and Simon Dinisio remains intact from the beating they received at the beginning of March from the Free State Cheetahs.

Overall, Nkosi has made nine changes to his starting XV again this week, including a new half-back pairing. In the continued absence of Vaughen Isaacs, the exciting James Tedder pulls on the No 10 jersey , and will be partnered with scrumhalf Ginter Smuts.

Kimberley remains a tough destination to travel and play at, and with the Griquas fighting for fourth on the log, Doc Du Plessis and the other more senior players, will have to work hard to avoid another embarrassment on Wednesday afternoon.

The match kicks off at 3.30pm.

Starting XV (15-1): EW Viljoen, Rabz Maxwane, Manuel Rass, Matt More, Divan Rossouw, James Tedder, Ginter Smuts; Emmanuel Tshituka, Ruan Venter, Jarod Cairns, Simon Dinisio, Lunga Ncube, Jannie du Plessis (capt), Morne Brandon, JP Smith; Bench (16-23): Jacque-Lois du Toit, Okuhle Siyeni, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, ML Pelser, Mark Snyman, Jurich Claasens, Luke Rossouw, James Mollentze

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