Lions flanker Jaco Kriel has been withdrawn from their squad to face Griquas with the franchise revealing only that his absence would be due to personal reasons.
Kriel withdraws from Lions squad
It is understood that there has been a bereavement in Kriel’s family.
“Jaco Kriel has been withdrawn from the Emirates Lions side to take on the Tafel Lager Griquas on Friday evening due to personal reasons. We support him in this difficult time,” a Lions’ statement read.
Kriel will be replaced on the bench by Marnus Schoeman.
Despite the loss Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen says the team are raring to go against Griquas.
“We are really excited to be back at home. Last week’s circumstances were very unfortunate,” said van Rooyen.
The Lions coach is wary of the structured play of Griquas which could keep his team on the back foot.
“Griquas showed against the Bulls what a good team they are. They have a good kicking game, can punish you on attack and have a lot of heart and character on defence. They will definitely come here to play and I think they will no doubt see it as an opportunity,” added the Lions coach.
Mentally fresh Lions
Skipper Elton Jantjies would have missed last weekend’s clash with the Cheetahs had it not been postponed and doesn’t feel that the break will kill their momentum.
“Personally I don’t feel there is added pressure or a lack of momentum. Last week we were able to train the whole week and the COVID-19 tests only came through on Friday,” Jantjies pointed out.
“We did have time together. Obviously we would have loved to play the Cheetahs game and a lot of guys would have got an opportunity, but having had the weekend off, we are actually mentally fresh,” he said.
Revised Lions team
Lions: Gianni Lombard, Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Dan Kriel, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies (capt), Morné van den Berg, Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka, MJ Pelser, Marvin Orie, Ruben Schoeman, Carlu Sadie, Jaco Visagie, Sti Sithole. Bench: PJ Botha, Ruan Dreyer, Jannie du Plessis, Reinhard Nothnagel, Marnus Schoeman, Ross Cronjé, Burger Odendaal, Tiaan Swanepoel
Match information – Emirates Lions v Tafel Lager Griquas
Date: Friday, 30 October 2020
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee : Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Stuart Berry
Television Match Official: Jaco Peyper
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby