Lions coach Cash van Rooyen has lauded the return of some of his former stars like flank Jaco Kriel and prop Ruan Dreyer ahead of Saturday’s Super Fan Saturday clash against the Stormers at Loftus in Pretoria.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies will continue as captain as Van Rooyen named a squad of 30 players with 15 players sitting on the bench to be used in a rolling substitution role.
“It’s great to have some of the old guys back, some previous Lions guys and some new ones, and they are all excited to get going again after a long break,” said Van Rooyen..
“They definitely brought some calm to the squad, but it’s also nice to see how well they understand the system and how easily they have worked with the rest of the team members,” Van Rooyen said.
In a formidable starting lineup, the Lions have selected new signings in fullback Divan Rossouw, centre Burger Odendaal and wing Rabz Maxwane.
Kriel makes his return on the flank after playing for two seasons in Europe, and he’ll be joined by another returnee from Gloucester in prop Dreyer at tighthead, and hooker Jaco Visagie, who joined from the Bulls in the time off.
“These guys brought some energy into the squad, but also a few new ideas, and I’m excited to see what they can do this weekend.”
Van Rooyen added he was especially excited to see his new loose-trio of Kriel, Vincent Tshituka and Hacjivah Dayimani in action.
“We are really fortunate to have loose-forwards who have great speed in attack, but are also solid in defence,” said Van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen said players like flank Willem Alberts and prop Wiehahn Herbst, who joined the franchise earlier this year, weren’t considered because of injuries.
“It’s going to be an interesting weekend with all the Covid-19 protocols in place, and the fact no will be there, but we are ready to embrace the challenge,” said Van Rooyen.
The exciting utility back EW Viljoen will play off the bench and be considered in the 13, 14 and 15 roles.
Divan Rossouw, Rabz Maxwane, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjis (capt), Andre Warner, Hacjivah Dayimani, Vincent Tshituka, Jaco Kriel, Marvin Orie, Ruben Schoeman, Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Visagie, Dylan Smith.
Bench: Sti Sithole, Jan-Henning Campher, Carlu Sadie, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Reinhardt Nothnagel, MJ Herbst, Francke Horn, Len Massyn, Dillon Smit, Gianni Lombard, Stean Pienaar, Dan Kriel, Manny Rass, Jamba Ulengo, EW Viljoen.