Franco back for Lions

Franco van der Merwe has returned to the Lions' starting line-up for their match against the Rebels at Ellis Park on Friday.

The Springbok lock has fully recovered from his ankle injury, which he sustained against the Reds in March. Van der Merwe will be joining Ulster after Super Rugby on a two-year contract.

In other changes to the team that beat the Bulls before the June break, Anthony Volmink will start on the left wing with Deon van Rensburg on the right.

Meanwhile, the Rebels have made four changes to their starting XV for Friday's clash.

Lock Hugh Pyle returns to the run-on side as one of three changes to the forward pack, with hooker Shota Horie and flanker Scott Fuglistaller also injected into the contest from the outset.

In the backs, Tom Kingston comes in on the right wing, while young fullback Jack Debreczeni and flyhalf Bryce Hegarty will share the initial place-kicking duties with Jason Woodward on the bench.

Lions – 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen/Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Lionel Mapoe.

Rebels – 15 Jack Debreczeni. 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Jason Woodward, 23 Telusa Veainu.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt