Johannesburg - Lions stalwart Elton Jantjies will make his first start in the number-10 jersey in Saturday's north-south Super Rugby derby against the Stormers in Johannesburg.
Coach Johan Ackermann made eight changes to the starting line-up after the team suffered their second consecutive defeat with a 29-12 loss to the Sharks in Durban over the weekend.
He was at pains to explain that the changes were part of their player management policy, while it was somewhat of an audition for players ahead of the Australasian tour starting next week.
"Our thinking is, let's put these guys out there and give them the opportunity to stake a claim to go on tour," Ackermann said.
Regular flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff and hooker Malcolm Marx were the biggest casualties with both players dropping out of the side altogether.
Jantjies will be starting in the place of Boshoff, while Jaco van der Walt, who came through superbly during last year's Currie Cup, will be the backup pivot.
"Boshoff's exclusion is purely rotational because we feel Elton is training well. He came from Japan and deserved a chance to start," Ackermann said.
The Lions go into the match with a completely new front row. Robbie Coetzee comes in at hooker, with Julian Redelinghuys and Schalk van der Merwe joining him from last week's replacement bench.
Ruan Dreyer and Corne Fourie will cover for the props while Armand van der Merwe will be at hand to replace Coetzee.
"The front rows I will always rotate ... they are fighting for positions but the reality is that not one guy will play all the games," Ackermann said.
"Jaco van der Walt was very good for us last year and in training he stands out. We want to throw him into the deep end to see what we have in him.
"We want to make sure the players we take on the plane are fresh and can play at that level."
Fiery flanker Jaco Kriel will also return to the starting XV after recovering from a minor groin injury with Derick Minnie shifting to the bench.
Sampie Mastriet will play his first Super Rugby game for the Lions as he runs out at left wing, replacing Courtnall Skosan.
Harold Vorster will also celebrate his first Super Rugby start at centre at the expense of Howard Mnisi, who drops to the bench.
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Sampie Mastriet, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Martin Muller, 4. Franco Mostert, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Derick Minnie, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Howard Mnisi
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Nizaam Carr, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Manuel Carizza, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones