The Lions have stuck to the combinations that won CC2011 for their opener against the Cheetahs.
Former Maties hooker and captain Callie Visagie is the only new cap and newcomer to Super Rugby in the MTN Lions side start against the Cheetahs at Coca-Cola park on Saturday. With hooker Bandise Maku out for a lengthy period and Martin Bezuidenhout short of game time, Visage was an obvious choice. He will face Springbok hooker and Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss as direct opponent in the match. Michael Bondesio was part of the match squad last year, but gets his first chance to impress
Lions coach John Mitchell has stuck with his tried and tested. James Kamana starts on the left wing in place of Michael Killian who has not completely recovered from a hamstring strain. Killian has belatedly come onto the bench in place if Lionel Mapoe, who ironically had to withdraw because of a hamstring strain.
The word ‘fetcher’ is perhaps over-emphasised in South Africa, but they have two of the best in that position with Cobus Grobbelaar coming in because of injury to Michael Rhodes. He starts at No 6 with Minnie moving to the other side of the scrum
At lock, Franco van der Merwe returns to the side. Wikus van Heerden is bracketed with newcomer Hendrik Roodt because of uncertainty over his knee injury, and on the bench Jacobie Adriaanse has been withdrawn with Springbok CJ can der Linde taking his place on the bench. A final call on Van Heerden and Adriaanse will be made on Friday.
If Roodt has to start, Stephan Greeff will move up to the bench, where scrumhalf Tian Meyer is with Roodt the only new Lions face. Roodt gas played for the Waratahs and the Cheetahs and as an Under-21 was also a member of the Bulls squad.
The team is:
Jaco Taute, Deon van Rensburg, Doppies la Grange, Alwyn Hollenbach, James Kamana, Elton Jantjies, Michael Bondesio, Joshua Strauss (capt.), Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden/Hendrik Roodt, Patric Cilliers, Callie Visagie, JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, CJ van der Linde, Hendrik Roodt/Stephan Greeff, Warren Whiteley, Tiaan Meyer, Butch James, Michael Killian