The Lions have a new captain in loose-forward Francke Horn.
The former Junior Springbok will lead the side in the absence of men like Elton Jantjies and Burger Odendaal when the Lions open their Currie Cup campaign against the Pumas in Mbombela on Friday.
Seasoned stars like Courtnall Skosan, Jannie du Plessis and Sti Sithole are also missing from the side, but the good news is Vincent Tshituka is back after picking up what looked like a serious injury two weeks ago.
It is very much a new-look Lions side since they were last in action in the Rainbow Cup. The men from Joburg didn’t play last week following the reporting of a number of Covid cases in the squad.
Among the youngsters who’ll get a chance to impress later on in Mbombela are Morne Brandon, Banele Mthenjane, Ruhan Straeuli, Emmanuel Tshituka and Aidynn Cupido.
Meanwhile, there is still no indication of when former Lions captain and Springbok flank Jaco Kriel will be ready for action.
Kriel has suffered with injuries since returning to the Joburg-based team from Gloucester at the start of last year and has hardly featured up to now.
The match on Friday evening kicks off at 7pm.
Lions: EW Viljoen; Jamba Ulengo, Manuel Rass, Dan Kriel, Rabz Maxwane; Fred Zeilinga, Dillon Smit; Francke Horn (capt) , Vincent Tshituka, Sibusiso Sangweni, Reinhard Nothnagel, Willem Alberts, Carlu Sadie, PJ Botha, Nathan McBeth. Bench: Morne Brandon, Banele Mthenjane, Ruan Dreyer, Ruhan Straeuli, Emmanuel Tshituka, Ross Cronjé, Aidynn Cupido, Duncan Matthews