Super Rugby Unlocked: Jantjies ruled out in injury blow to Lions

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Lions skipper Elton Jantjies has been ruled out of the team’s first home match of the Super Rugby Unlocked campaign.

Jantjies suffered a grade 1 calf injury during training on Tuesday 20 October and will miss the match against the unbeaten Cheetahs.

Kriel to captain depleted Lions

Centre Dan Kriel has been named skipper for the crucial clash with the Lions also hit by an outbreak of COVID-19 in their training group.

Gianni Lombard stands in for Jantjies at flyhalf in his first start in the number 10 jersey this season.

The outbreak

The Lions withdrew nine players from their training group, four who tested positive for COVID-19 and a further five as a precautionary measure.

“Nine players have been withdrawn from the squad, and two have presented symptoms,” Lions doctor Rob Collins said on a zoom call with selected media on Thursday.

“Their symptoms,” he continued, “have basically recovered by now, but they do have symptoms, yes.

“One player developed symptoms on Monday, which is in the 48-hour window after the match against the Stormers.

“We then had to do a video review and determine the contact with the player concerned. I reviewed the video footage, together with my Stormers colleague and Clint Redhead (SA Rugby head of medical) to determine who was in contact and who needed to be quarantined.”

The withdrawals have not been named, and there has been seemingly only a limited impact of the starting XV. In the only other change to the backline, this Wandisile Simelane comes in to rekindle his partnership with Kriel.

Amongst the forwards, MJ Pelser gets the nod at six in the only change to the pack.

New faces on the bench are PJ Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Nathan McBeth, Marnus Schoeman, Stean Pienaar and Tiaan Swanepoel.

The Lions will don their traditional white strip this weekend while the visitors will wear their alternate orange jerseys.

Super Rugby Unlocked: Lions teams vs Cheetahs

Starting XV: EW Viljoen; Jamba Ulengo, Wandisile Simelane, Dan Kriel (captain), Rabz Maxwane; Gianni Lombard, Morné van den Berg; Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka, MJ Pelser, Marvin Orie, Ruben Schoeman, Carlu Sadie, Jaco Visagie, Sti Sithole. 

Reserves: PJ Botha, Nathan McBeth, Jannie du Plessis, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Marnus Schoeman, Ross Cronje, Stean Pienaar, Tiaan Swanepoel.

Match information – Lions vs Cheetahs

Date: Saturday, 24 October

Time: 16:00

Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant Referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Griffon Colby

Television Match Official: Willie Vos

TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby 

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