Rhynardt Rijnsburger and Ruan Delport get their first starts in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship as part the Lions lineup to face Leinster in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Rijnsburger is set to pack down at loosehead prop, while Delport comes in at blindside flanker for Ruan Venter, who has been rested for the second clash of a blockbuster URC double-header at Ellis Park.
Also, Darrien Landsberg returns to the fold as lock cover, with right winger Stean Pienaar in for Rabz Maxwane, also on a week’s break. Meanwhile, Reinhard Nothnagel underwent successful surgery on his cheekbone and will be out for several months.
Still in the running for a top-eight spot, Ivan van Rooyen’s Pride would need a full house of points against Leinster and a repeated effort against Zebra next weekend at Loftus Versfeld to possibly progress to the knockouts stages for the first time.
Speaking about the possibility of still qualifying for the playoffs, Lions captain Marius Louw believes their efforts will determine how far they’ll go in the championship.
”The mood in the camp has been great and you can see it in the way that we have been playing over the past few games,” he said. “We’re not out of the competition completely so I wouldn’t necessarily throw us out of the bus just yet. In essence, we’ll do what we can, as best as we can and for as long as we can and see how that goes.”
Fullback Quan Horn is also backing Lions’ ability against the Leinster juggernaut: “They are a strong side with ball in hand, especially from the first-phase ball. If they get quick ball, they can be dangerous.
“If we can shut them down from four phases plus, maybe they will try something risky, like kicking, and then, hopefully, the back three can counter from there, get the ball in their half and put pressure on them. Our defence can turn into attack for us.”
Your Emirates Lions Match 23 for this weekend’s Double-Header at Emirates Airline Park. Don’t miss it, it’s going to be a fun day out. Get your tickets!
— Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) April 14, 2023
Photo: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix