Super Rugby Unlocked: ‘Hungry’ Lions name team to face Sharks

The Lions head to Kings Park for a Super Rugby Unlocked fixture against the Sharks that gives them the opportunity to turn around a disappointing season.

Super Rugby Unlocked begins in Durban

Jaco Visagie, Sibahle Maxwane, Burger Odendaal and EW Viljoen will make their first appearances for the Lions when they run out against the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday evening.

The quartet joined the Lions in July during lockdown and have all been in action in the warm-up matches in September.

On the bench, Wiehahn Herbst will be gearing up for his first taste of Lions Rugby.

Four members of the starting line-up, Carlu Sadie, Marvin Orie, Vincent Tshituka and Elton Jantjies, were in action in the Green and Gold match-up at Newlands with four more, Dylan Smith, Gianni Lombard, Wandisile Simelane and Ruan Dreyer, on the bench.

Alberts brings bulk and experience

The Lions pack has been bolstered by the arrival of experienced lock Willem Alberts and coach Cash Van Rooyen feels that he could make a big difference.

“Willem only came back to training last week. He gives us physicality at four and we feel he can make a difference for us,” Van Rooyen said.

“Just having him here is awesome, what he brings to the team meetings, what he brings to the side and what he brings off the field is immense for us. 

“He is a great character to have around. His physical shape. He understands what we want from him. He is very comfortable with what he can bring. Having him lean and in shape is exciting for us. 

“I don’t necessarily think he is ready to play 80 minutes but really having the big ball-carrying No 4 he can do the grunt work for us, we are really upfront about what he can do for us and what our expectation is. We feel that with the Sharks pack and the way they play a bit of grunt can never hurt.”

Lions Team

15 EW Viljoen 14 Jamba Ulengo 13 Burger Odendaal 12 Dan Kriel 11 Sibahle Maxwane 10 Elton Jantjies (capt.) 9 Dillon Smit 8 Len Massyn 7 Vincent Tshituka 6 Jaco Kriel 5 Marvin Orie 4 Willem Alberts 3 Carlu Sadie 2 Jaco Visagie 1 Sti Sithole. 

Reserves: 16 Jan-Henning Campher 17 Dylan Smith 18 Wiehahn Herbst 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys 20 MJ Pelser 21 Hacjivah Dayimani 22 Morné van den Berg 23 Gianni Lombard 24 Wandisile Simelane 25 Ruan Dreyer.

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