Ryan Kankowski will captain the Golden Lions in their Currie Cup opener against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Sunday.
Kankowski, who recently joined the Lions from the Toyota Industries Shuttles in Japan, will play in the back row alongside flanks Jano Venter and James Venter. Lock Marvin Orie will lead the way in the tight five, as he is the most experienced.
In the backline, Super Rugby players Madosh Tambwe and Stokkies Hanekom have earned starting spots.
The bulk of the Golden Lions XV’s Rugby Challenge squad has been retained.
Golden Lions – 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Marco Janse van Vuren, 8 Ryan Kankowski (captain), 7 Jano Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Pieter Jansen 1 Sti Sithole
Subs: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Nico du Plessis, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Bradley Thain, 22 Jan-Louis la Grange.