Johannesburg - Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann expects nothing less than the best from his fringe players when they take on the bottom-of-the-log Griquas in their final round-robin Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on Saturday (16:05 kick-off).
Ackermann made sweeping changes to his side for the match to give his first-choice group a rest before next week’s home semi-final.
The Lions mentor said the new-look side would not deviate from the successful game plan they employed throughout the season.
“Our style will not change and we hope the guys will play attractive rugby that will make the supporters proud,” Ackermann said.
“It remains a Lions side and the players have to understand that, the passion and pride that accompanies the jersey needs to be upheld.”
With many of the fringe players also looking to impress in their first Currie Cup outing, Griquas can expect a motivated Lions side.
Griquas will be looking to salvage a disappointing season and move away from the bottom of the log and end the season in seventh place.
Ackermann said he already considered the Currie Cup season a success because of the increased player depth.
“People may say that we were in a comfortable position this year with few changes but you have to go and look at the amount of young guys that came through,” Ackermann said.
“Slowly but surely we started playing good rugby again as the combinations formed.
“I know success will be measured in terms of winning the cup but for me it’s already been a success because we’ve brought in a lot of new guys and with an eye on Super Rugby we’ve increased our depth.”
Meanwhile, lock Martin Muller failed a late fitness test, which sees Warren Whiteley come into the starting team.
Whiteley will start at No 8 and also takes over the captaincy after scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder was initially named captain for the match.
Bobby de Wee will now start at lock, with Ruaan Lerm moving to No 7 flank and Fabian Booysen coming in on the bench.
15 Vainon Willis, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Gerdus van der Walt, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruaan Lerm, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16. Mark Pretorius, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Fabian Booysen, 19. Stephan de Witt, 20. Lohan Jacobs, 21. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22. Salom Gavor
15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Ruan Nel, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Danie Mienie
Substitutes: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Leon Karemaker, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Jonathan Francke