Du Plessis back to anchor Lions scrum

Jannie du Plessis will make his first start of the season in the Lions’ Currie Cup clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has made just three changes to their starting lineup from the side that claimed a late win over Western Province this past weekend.

Two of those changes are rotational as experienced tighthead Du Plessis makes his first start of the campaign in place of Ruan Dreyer, who drops to the bench after a difficult match against the Stormers’ Steven Kitshoff.

Meanwhile, Andre Warner gets an opportunity to start at scrumhalf in place of Ross Cronje, who misses the game entirely as Morne van den Berg continues to provide scrumhalf cover on the bench.

The only other change is injury-enforced as the Lions will be without the services of Burger Odendaal on Saturday afternoon. In his place comes Dan Kriel, who will form the centre combination with Wandisile Simelane.

Van Rooyen has kept the six-two split between forwards and backs on the Lions bench, with Wilhelm van der Sluys providing cover at both lock and flank. Kriel’s call-up to the starting lineup means that Manuel Rass is brought on to the bench.

Lions – 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (c), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Roelof Smit.

Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images