Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell was relieved to welcome back scrumhalf Michael Bondesio to the run-on side for Saturday's Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Mitchell said on Wednesday that Bondesio was critical to the side after his replacement for the Blue Bulls match, Rudy Paige, did not instill confidence in the coach.
Since the loss of Jano Vermaak to the Blue Bulls earlier in the season, the Lions have struggled with depth in the scrumhalf position.
After Paige's lacklustre performance on Saturday, he was dropped from the side altogether.
"Rudy got a great education last week and he knows what is required and I certainly won't accept a half back in the squad going forward if you can't make your tackles," said Mitchell.
The Lions opted for a 5/2 split on the bench with James Kamana and Dylan des Fountain the only backline replacements.
With Paige out of the team, centre Doppies la Grange will be the backup scrumhalf.
While the Cheetahs are the leading try scoring team in the Currie Cup, with 47 tries, Mitchell said he was not concerned about his side's defensive structures.
"Nothing really changes as we always work on our defence," he said.
"We work a lot on organisation and the data base helps us to bring up trends of the opposition and you also have to allow for the element of surprise."Teams:
Free Sate Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Andries Strauss
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Burton Francis, 21 James Kamana, 22 Dylan des Fountain
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