SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW : Lions vs Hurricanes

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The Lions have made three changes to their starting line-up that will face the Hurricanes at Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday.

Head coach Johan Ackermann has been forced to name a second new-look prop duo in as many weeks after Ruan Dreyer sustained a wrist injury against the Kings last week.

Prop Corne Fourie rotates with Dylan Smith, with the former being named amongst the replacements and Currie Cup front-rower Pieter Scholtz gets his first start of the season, Scholtz will pack down in the front-row alongside Smith and the exciting Armand van der Merwe at hooker.

Blindside flank Cyle Brink drops to the bench and is replaced by Jaco Kriel, who pairs up with captain Warren Whiteley and Warwick Tecklenburg to form the loose forward trio.

The backline remains unchanged from last week’s 45-10 thumping of the Port Elizabeth side.

Lock Vaea Fifita’s elevation to the starting team represents the only change to the Hurricanes XV named to play the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Fifita switches places with Blade Thomson, who takes his place on a reserve bench that features two further changes to the squad that lost by a solitary point to the Chiefs in Wellington.

Experienced half-back Jamison Gibson-Park comes into the squad for Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who has remained in New Zealand, while James Marshall edges out Otere Black as the bench cover for fly-half and full-back.

Fifita, who will make his fourth start of 2016, resumes his locking partnership with Michael Fatialofa after the pair started together against the Rebels in Melbourne a fortnight ago.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said he was lucky to have two players in Fifita and Thomson both equally as capable of starting or providing impact off the bench with their athleticism.

Gibson-Park’s experience made him a valuable asset behind vice-captain TJ Perenara, while Marshall had been named in the reserves against the Chiefs, but had been withdrawn to give him more time to recover from the concussion that had also kept him out of the previous two matches.

The Teams:

Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 JW Bell, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Hurricanes: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reg Goodes
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall, 23 Willis Halaholo

Date: Saturday, April 30
Venue: Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greef


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