Vodacom Super Rugby
Lions eye Stormers scalp
Johannesburg - Lions captain Joshua Strauss says they are determined to claim the scalp of the Stormers in Saturday's Super Rugby clash at Newlands.
This follows last week's revelation by the Golden Lions Rugby Union that coach John Mitchell had been suspended pending an investigation into his conduct towards players.
"Everyone is focused on Saturday. We know we've got a tough task ahead of us," Strauss said on Thursday.
"The Stormers are a very good team and it is a game that we really want to win as a team and we are going to win it for each other."
He said the team had a fairly normal build-up to the weekend, despite the controversy surrounding the coach's suspension.
"The guys have been training really well, especially on Tuesday was a great training day and the feeling in the camp is great."
Strauss felt the three-week hiatus from Super Rugby, during the inbound England tour, might have dampened some of the momentum they got from their victory over the Sharks before the break.
"Looking at the pros and cons, I think we would have liked to take that momentum into the next week, and we had the three week break for the Springbok Tests," he said.
"I think it was a brilliant game for us, especially looking back at the season that we've had injury and loss wise."
However, he said the team remained in positive spirits after the 38-28 victory over the Sharks at Ellis Park.
"The feeling in the camp is still very good. The guys are pumped," he said.
"We take great confidence out of a win like that, especially against a strong team like the Sharks -- a team that is really a contender for the semis, final etcetera."
Interim coach Johan Ackermann said at the team announcement on Thursday that it was encouraging to have some continuity in selection, as he made only two changes to the run-on side.
"It is good to know you've got the same loose trio, same locks, same nine and 10 and centres for a change. It keeps the continuity going," said Ackermann.
Prop JC Janse van Rensburg replaces CJ van der Linde, who could play off the bench provided he passes a late fitness test.
In the only other change to the starting XV, Jacobie Adriaanse replaces injured Pat Cilliers at tighthead prop.
15 Joe Pietersen,
14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11
Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Siya
Kolisi, 7 Don Armand, 6 Tyrone Holmes, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock
Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Deon Carstens
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Quinn Roux, 19 Jebb Sinclair,
20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Bryan Habana
Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James,
11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss
(captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4
Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der
Linde/Ruaan Dreyer, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Michael Bondesio,
21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck