Mitchell axes Jantjies
Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell's patience has run out after seven defeats in eight matches – and with the injuries that have beset the team he made seven changes to the starting line-up to face the Stormers at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:05.
Out go lock Franco van der Merwe, tighthead Patric Cilliers and flyhalf Elton Jantjies; and injuries to fullback James Kamana and both flanks Derick Minnie (knee) and Josh Strauss (concussion) as well as lock George Earl (concussion) have led to three further changes.
Former Cheetahs lock David de Villiers, former Griquas prop Jacobie Adriaanse and former Sharks flank Michael Rhodes come in for first starts for the Lions in the Super Rugby competition.
There is also a start for flyhalf Burton Francis, and the return after injury of fullback Michael Killian and lock Wikus van Heerden. Cobus Grobbelaar gets another start after playing for the Vodacom Cup side last weekend.
“There is no place for mediocrity,” said Mitchell in announcing the side. He said that action had to be taken as some of the players weren’t playing at their optimum.
Van der Merwe’s demotion to the bench is the result of the side’s poor lineout performances in recent matches, and Mitchell referred to this first phase facet as “the root of all evil”. It is obviously hoped that the selection of De Villiers, a lineout specialist, and the tall Rhodes at flank will help to alleviate these problems.
The selection of Francis at flyhalf comes as no surprise after performances by Jantjies that fluctuated between very good and very poor.
15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies La Grange (captain), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whitely, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Dries van Schalkwyk, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Substitutes: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Nick Koster, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Johann Sadie