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Strong Lions side for Kings

MTN Lions coach Johan Ackermann has named his strongest available starting line-up for Saturday’s Lions challenge match against the Southern Kings at Ellis Park.

Utility forward JJ Breet gets the opportunity to start at flank in the place of Willie Britz, who is out of action for a month while Ross Cronje comes into the side in the place of the injured Michael Bondesio.

Ackermann has moved Lionel Cronje, who has been very impressive in early season action thus far, back to flyhalf, with Marnitz Boshoff, who played in the position against the Bulls in Soweto, returning to the fullback position.

Boshoff slotted a monster dropgoal from his own half in Soweto and this may become a feature of the Lions play now that it has been proven successful.

Breet’s inclusion will give a number of new options in the lineout, while Ackermann has partnered Cronje with Alwyn Hollenbach on his outside, and impressive winger Anthony Volminck gets another chance to impress.

Up front, the inclusion of Breet sees Derick Minnie at the back of the scrum and impressive youngster Jaco Kriel completing the loose trio.

Despite being involved in all three games thus far, captain JC Janse van Rensburg won’t be resting further and will be leading from the front in what has become a game the Lions are determined to win.

However, news from the Eastern Cape seems to indicate the Kings won’t be sending a full-strength team to Ellis Park, thereby trying to defuse the powder keg surrounding the game.

Players such as captain Luke Watson, Andries Strauss, Steven Sykes and Demetri Catrakilis are not expected to be in the team named for Saturday’s encounter.

The Kings will also not be wearing their new strip – a simple black home jersey and white away jersey until the season starts, so will play on Saturday in their EP colours.

How Sharks fans will feel about the strip – which is close to the Sharks colours – waits to be seen.

LIONS TEAM:15. Marnitz Boshoff; 14. Andries Coetzee, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Anthony Volmink; 10. Lionel Cronjé, 9. Ross Cronjé; 8. Derick Minnie, 7. JJ Breet, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Hendrik Roodt, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Francois du Toit. 1. JC van Rensburg (capt).

Reserves: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Gavin Annandale, 19. Warwick Tecklenburg, 20. Whestley Moolman, 21. Ruhan Nel, 22. Deon Helberg, 23. Dylan des Fountain.


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