Lions receive Mapoe blow
Johannesburg - The Lions were dealt another injury blow ahead of Saturday's Absa Currie Cup clash against the Leopards when wing Lionel Mapoe picked up a knee injury during Wednesday morning's training session at Jeppe Boys High.
"Lionel incurred an injury in training on Wednesday and Dylon (des Fountain) will come into his position," Lions coach John Mitchell confirmed when naming his side.
Mitchell has again rewarded on-field character with consistency in his team selection, with injuries forcing the only three changes he made.
As expected, Josh Strauss will take over the role as captain while regular skipper Doppies La Grange recovers from a hamstring injury.
La Grange, who should to be fit for next week's derby against the Blue Bulls, will be replaced by Alwyn Hollenbach in midfield.
Hollenbach's place on the bench will be filled by either Jannie Boshoff or Lions Under-21 fullback Andries Coetzee.
In the only other change to the team, Michael Rhodes returns after serving out a five-week suspension and will start on the bench ahead of Dries van Schalkwyk.
Despite having started the season with two consecutive wins, Mitchell said his side would have to respect the Leopards who, according to the Lions mentor, played a good brand of rugby with ball in hand.
"The important thing for us this week is to get better and focus on our performance. That is all that matters," said Mitchell.
"If we go into this match concerning ourselves about what the Leopards do or what they don't do, rather than focussing on our own performance, we will have a tough night."
Toughness has become synonymous with the way Strauss approaches the game, and the skipper said nothing would change because he had been elected to lead the team.
"When you consider there are guys like Wikus (van Heerden) and Cobus (Grobbelaar) who have been there for years, it makes taking over from Doppies much easier." said Strauss.
"The whole team see themselves as leaders so it is not too big a task."
Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Daylon des Fountain, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Patric Cilliers
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Johan Snyman, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Hein Cronje, 22 Jannie Boshoff/Andries Coetzee