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Lions put faith in battle-tested players for Currie Cup semi-final

The Lions travel across the Jukskei to face the Bulls in their Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and will do so with the tried and tested from this past season.

From young Tiaan Swanepoel at the back, who has been the find of the season for the Lions, to former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis up front, coach Ivan van Rooyen has leaned on players he believes will have the quality to upset the form team of this season’s Currie Cup.

Ready to roar

Conditions haven’t really been conducive to the Lions style of play but they are eager to test the Bulls defense and express themselves in this massive match.

 “The conditions will certainly be a factor in how we approach and execute this match and we will have to put more pressure on them defensively than we did in our last encounter,” Van Rooyen said.

Rugby World Cup winner Du Plessis, knows that these are occassions to be savoured.

“Now the onus is on us is to loosen the shackles and to jol,” the veteran frontranker quipped.

Former Bulls centre Burger Odendaal expects the battle up front to determine the path of the match. Odendaal has thrived in the Lions backline, enjoying perhaps his best season in domestic rugby.

 “It is going to be a physical clash, so whoever dominates the contact and wins the set piece will be on the front foot,” Odendaal said.

Lions assistant coach Warren Whiteley says the team are primed to grasp opportunities to turn the match in their favour.

“The margins are going to be small and it’s going to come down to those small moments. We look forward to that and look forward to the challenge,” the former Springbok skipper said.

The match will kick off at 14:00 on Saturday 23 January with no fans allowed inside the stadium. The Currie Cup is broadcast exclusively on SuperSport.

Lions team

Tiaan Swanepoel; Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal, Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies (captain), André Warner; Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka, Jaco Kriel, Marvin Orie, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Jaco Visagie, Sti Sithole. 

Reserves: Jan-Henning Campher, Ruan Dreyer, Carlu Sadie, Reinhard Nothnagel, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Morné van den Berg, Dan Kriel, Francke Horn, Nathan McBeth, EW Viljoen, Ross Cronjé.

Bulls vs Lions – CURRIE CUP SF MATCH INFORMATION

Date: Saturday, 23 January 2021

Time: 14:00

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs and Griffin Colby

TMO: Marius Jonker

TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby

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