The defending champion Golden Lions have named a strong 37-man squad for the 2016 Currie Cup tournament.
Despite losing several of their Super Rugby stars to Springbok call-ups and club commitments in Japan, head coach Johan Ackermann was still able to gather a formidable playing group as the Lions set out to defend their title.
Nine players – Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Faf de Klerk, Ruan Combrinck, Malcolm Marx, Julian Redelinghuys, Lionel Mapoe, Elton Jantjies and Franco Mostert – are doing Springbok duty, while a 10th player, Warwick Teckenburg, will be in Japan for the duration of the Currie Cup.
Kwagga Smith, who is currently representing the Blitzboks at the Olympic Games in Rio, has been included alongside the likes of fellow back-rowers Ruan Ackermann, Steph de Witt, Cyle Brink, Ruaan Lerm and Fabian Booysen.
The back division includes hard-running centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Ross Cronjé, Jaco van der Walt and Andries Coetzee, who all featured prominently throughout Super Rugby.
Lions squad – Dylan Smith, Corné Fourie, Jacques van Rooyen, Pieter Scholtz, Justin Ackerman, Ruan Ackermann, Andries Ferreira, Akker van der Merwe, Ramone Samuels, Robbie Coetzee, MB Lusaseni, Lourens Erasmus, Bobby de Wee, JP du Preez, Cyle Brink, Steph de Wit, Ruaan Lerm, Fabian Booysen, Victor Sekekete, Kwagga Smith, Ross Cronjé, Dillon Smit, Marco Janse van Vuren, Marnitz Boshoff, Jaco van der Walt, Ashlon Davids, Courtnall Skosan, Anthony Volmink, Selom Gavor, Koch Marx, Sylvian Mahuza, Andries Coetzee, JW Bell, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Howard Mnisi, Stokkies Hanekom, Jacques Nel.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images