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Rugby | Absa Currie Cup

Wepener, Franco back for Lions



Discarded Vodacom Blue Bulls hooker Willie Wepener will have the perfect opportunity to remind his former employers just how much they miss him as he lines up for the MTN Golden Lions in their Absa Currie Cup match this weekend at Loftus Versfeld.

Wepener was treated poorly by the Bulls' management, who first offered him a contract extension that was worth half his salary and then went ahead and signed both Bandise Maku (Kings) and Callie Visagie (Lions) after dropping him from the Super Rugby side despite several good performances.

It wasn’t surprising then that Wepener asked to be released and this was granted, allowing him to take up a new contract with the Golden Lions, his province before he left for France several years ago

It was also not a surprise when coach Johan Ackermann included him in the starting line-up as he made four changes to the side that lost 33-25 to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

The Lions are desperate for a victory after two narrow losses in the competition and they will see their chance against a young Bulls side that has performed above expectation thus far in the competition.

In other changes, lock Franco van der Merwe returns from Springbok duty and will take up his place at his regular five lock position, while a potential brotherly clash has been avoided with Marnitz Boshoff being preferred at flyhalf ahead of Springbok Elton Jantjies.

Chrysander Botha has another chance to impress at fullback, with Ackermann retaining a strong bench for the clash.

MTN GOLDEN LIONS: 15.Chrysander Botha, 14.Deon Helberg, 13.Robert de Bruyn, 12.Dylan des Fountain, 11.Anthony Volminck, 10.Marnitz Boshoff, 9.Guy Cronje, 8.Willie Britz, 7.Derick Minnie (capt), 6.Jaco Kriel, 5.Franco van der Merwe, 4.Chris van Zyl, 3.Ruan Dreyer, 2.Willie Wepener, 1.Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: 16.Robbie Coetzee, 17.CJ van der Linde, 18.Lambert Groenewald,19. Warwick Tecklenburg, 20.Tiaan Meyer, 21.Elton Jantjies, 22.Lionel Cronje.

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