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

Lionel Mapoe

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