Boks drafted into Lions side
THE LIONS have welcomed Springboks Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe back for their crucial Currie Cup clash with the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
Both men will start in the backline in a game the Joburg team must win if they’re to secure a semi-final place. The final roundrobin game is basically a quarter-final clash, with the Pumas, who’re currently in fifth place in the table, also hoping to advance to a last four place with a win.
Four of the Lions’ other Bok players – Warren Whiteley, Malcolm Marx, Aphiwe Dyantyi and Franco Mostert – were not considered for the match, while a fifth, Ross Cronje (shoulder), is out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury. Another Bok player, Andries Coetzee (foot) – who hasn’t played for the national team at all this season – is also sidelined for the remainder of the year.
Star lock Mostert, who was expected to join Gloucester in England following his national duties, remains a Lions player for now, according to union CEO Rudolf Straeuli.
“We’re still involved in a dispute with Gloucester and right now Franco is under contract with the Lions,” said Straeuli on Tuesday. “It’s nothing personal, but I was instructed by our board to stand up to Gloucester ... Franco has a contract with us and he must honour it.”
In another exciting move by the Lions, young wing Wandisile Simelane will earn his first start this season after previously starring from off the bench. Also, the team will be lead for the first time by scrumhalf Nic Groom, who only joined the union midway through the Super Rugby competition this year.
He said yesterday the two-week break in the competition had served the Lions well. “It was great timing for us (after losing twice before the break), said Groom. “We’re excited now about what’s left for us ... potentially three weeks (including the playoffs) to make something special out of the season.”
Meanwhile, Straeuli confirmed on Tuesday he was staying put as the Lions CEO after recent reports suggested he was on a shortlist for the vacant CEO position at the Bulls. “I have a huge amount of respect for both the Lions and Bulls, both unions I represented on the field.
STARTING XV: Sylvian Mahuza, Wandisile Simelane, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom (capt), Hacjivah Dayimani, Jo-Hanko de
Villiers, James Venter, Marvin Orie, Rhyno Herbst, Jacobie Adriaanse, Corne Fourie, Sti Sithole; Replacements: Pieter Jansen, Danie Mienie, Chergin Fillies, Driaan Bester, Len Massyn, Dillon Smit, Shaun Reynolds WESTERN Province scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies says he’s learnt a lot from Jano Vermaak.
The 22-year-old Jantjies is one of WP’s younger scrumhalves compared to the experienced Vermaak, while he also added that he has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play some Currie Cup rugby.
Jantjies came through WP’s junior ranks and also played in the SuperSport Challenge.
Province currently top the