Revamped Lions squad to face Cheetahs today
JOHANNESBURG — Lions coach Johan Ackermann has spruced up his team with nine changes to the starting line-up for the Lions’ Challenge match against the Cheetahs at Ellis Park today.
The Cheetahs are bringing an injury-hit squad featuring fringe players to Johannesburg and Ackermann will also be fielding several new faces for the Lions’ second game of the season, following their 51-13 victory over Russia last weekend.
Centre Alwyn Hollenbach, who has been mentioned for higher honours, has returned from injury and will provide captain JC Janse van Rensburg with experienced support alongside loose forward Derick Minnie.
Swys du Toit has also been introduced at hooker, with Martin Bezuidenhout, the subject of loan speculation in Cape Town, out of the squad.
While the Lions did confirm they are in negotiations with the Stormers over lending the frontranker to them, Ackermann said the Orkney-born 23-year-old would have been rested this weekend anyway.
Janse van Rensburg said he expected a tough encounter against the Cheetahs. “There’s always extra competition against the South African teams, it will be like a derby, hard and tough. The Cheetahs are in the same boat as us, their tight five will also be out to prove themselves, so it will be as tough as always up front.” — Sapa. Lions team: Marnitz Boshoff, Ruhan Nel, Stokkies Hanekom, Alwyn Hollenbach, Anthony Volmink, Guy Cronje, Ross Cronje, Willie Britz, Derick Minnie, Jaco Kriel, Hugo Kloppers, Gavin Annandale, Ruan Dreyer, Swys du Toit, JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Jacques van Rooyen, JJ Breet, Claude Tshibidi, Michael Bondesio, Lionel Cronje, Andries Coetzee.
Ivory Coast skipper Didier Drogba (pictured) leads a side that has a few faults, according to Tunisian coach Sami Trabelsi.