Vincent and Emmanuel Tshituka are back as the Lions roll out the red carpet for Cardiff at Ellis Park on Sunday in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
The Tshituka brothers missed the 21-13 loss at Leinster at the end of February due to visa issues. They, together with the return of lock Reinhard Nothnagel, boost the Lions pack on the occasion of Ellis Park’s first URC match involving European visitors.
The return of Nothnagel relieves the pressure at lock for Ivan van Rooyen’s men, who head into this weekend’s outing desperate to end a run of five defeats in the competition.
“We’re pretty pleased to have Notties back. Our lineout stocks have been quite thin due to injuries, so to have him at number 5 is quite exciting,” said the Lions coach.
“Cardiff Rugby will be an interesting tussle this Sunday. They will be our first international team we face at home in the competition. We had prepared quite intensely for them previously, so this week has been focused on tweaking a few things having analysed their play over the past two months.”
He added: “It’s a home game so we are backing ourselves for a positive result. The players are feeling upbeat attitude-wise, especially after our spirited performance away to Leinster a fortnight ago.”
Lions – 15 Quan Horn, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Venter, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Nico Steyn, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.