The Lions have welcomed back Springbok Sevens star Kwagga Smith and centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg for their Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls on Friday night at Loftus.
Smith returned last week from the Olympics where he won a bronze medal with the BlitzBokke in Rio and will start at openside flanker in the place of Steph de Wit who has been rested for this week.
Janse van Rensburg, strongly tipped for higher honours, returns for the first time since the Super Rugby final given enough time to recover from the arm injury that bothered him at the time.
Hooker Robbie Coetzee has been given his first start after coming off the bench last week following a knee injury.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann again made big rotational changes for this week with 11 in total compared to the 12 last week for the Boland match while the entire bench has also received a makeover.
Ackermann also changed his captains around again with scrumhalf Ross Cronje taking over the leadership from centre Howard Mnisi who lead the side to a 60-12 hammering of Boland at Ellis Park.
Also back as part of the rotation of the team are flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, prop Jacques van Rooyen, lock Lourens Erasmus and wing Courtnall Skosan who all got a complete rest last week.
Lock Andries Ferreira, who hasn’t been in action since the Super Rugby final, and fullback Sylvan Mahuza, who injured his leg against Griquas, failed fitness tests and have not been considered.
Friday night’s clash at Loftus Versfeld is scheduled to start at 7.10pm.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje (capt), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Jacques van Roooyen, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Victor Sekekete, 19 Fabian Booysen, Dillon Smit, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Jacques Nel