The Highlanders are on the road and their first visit is to to Johannesburg where the Lions are waiting for them.
The Lions came back from tour and a bye week to beat the Waratahs last week, and although it was nothing to talk home to about it was an important win that brought them right back into the race for the top spot of the South African conference.
The will want to keep that winning ways this weekend against a Highlanders side that have not been at their best this season.
The inconsistency of the Highlanders this year may be to the benefit for the Lions coming into this game but they will have to do again without their captain Warren Whiteley.
Whiteley has a bruise knee which he is nursing which means Malcolm Marx will take over the captaincy again for this weekend match.
There is a few changes to the side this week with Dylon Smith that comes in for Sti Sithole, Kwagga Smith moves to number eight to make way for Schoeman at six and Cyle Brink will be at seven.
The backline has enough to challenge this Highlander side with Coetzee, Skosan and Dyantyi making up the back three.
The lineouts was not great loosing two and they also did not dominate the scrums as we expected.
This week they will have to put a much better performance in against the Highlanders.
The Highlanders are welcoming Waisake Naholo this week who will make a huge impact in their already dangerous attacking play.
He was named on the bench and will make an impact when he comes on later in the match.
The Highlanders are running thin with Ben Smith, Tevita Li, Tevita Nabura and Richard Buckman are all unavailable.
This will test their squad these next few weeks on tour.
Shannon Frizell will get his shot at number eight after his rest week. Luke Whitelock will take the number six jumper with Dixon missing out this week.
Teihorangi Walden will return to the midfield to renew his partnership with Rob Thompson.
Up front Tyrel Lomax with take the tighthead position as they will try and unsettle the Lions pack.
We will say it ever week from now on but every game form here on end will be important if teams want to make the playoffs.
Looking very much forward to the two front rows bashing at each other come Saturday.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The winner has alternated in the last 10 Super Rugby meetings between the Lions and the Highlanders, both sides winning five games apiece in that spell; should that run continue the Lions would be due victory in this game.
- The Highlanders have won five of their last seven Super Rugby fixtures in South Africa (L2), the same amount as they’d won in their previous 21 such matches (L16).
- The Lions have lost their last three Super Rugby games at home to New Zealand opposition, despite holding the lead at half-time in the last two matches of that span.
- Only the Crusaders (18) have scored more tries in the third quarter of matches than the Lions (13) and the Highlanders (12) in Super Rugby 2019.
- Matt Faddes (Highlanders) has scored three tries in his last four Super Rugby games; however, he’s not scored a try away from home in the competition since Round 12, 2017.
Predictions: Lions are at home against a Highlander side with plenty of injuries, expect much better from Lions, Lions by 11
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Vincent Tshituka, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Tyrone Green
Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Sio Tomkinson, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Shannon Frizell, 7 Luke Whitelock (captain), 6 Dillon Hunt, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Dan Hollinshead, 23 Waisake Naholo