Lions seek lineout specialist
Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell has promoted 22-year-old lock Stephan Greeff to the starting XV after the team’s disappointing showing in the lineouts in their 27-25 victory over the Cheetahs at the weekend.
Mitchell made three changes on Tuesday to the side that will face the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby match at Coca-Cola Park on Friday.
This also follows on the injury blow to Wikus van Heerden, who is expected to miss three weeks of rugby due to a concussion he suffered after a tip tackle from Andries Strauss.
"We decided to improve that particular area by bringing in some lineout specialists," said Mitchell.
"Stephan has come in because of his lineout ability and also because of his work capacity. He can go for a long time."
Hendrik Roodt, who replaced Van Heerden early in the match, is bracketed on the bench with Pumas lock Marius Coetzer, who is likely to get the nod ahead of Roodt, pending a fitness test.
"We are after accuracy so we felt Hendrik was not as accurate as he could have been in his performance and his outputs were not where we want them to be at this moment," Mitchell said.
If Coetzer is named, it will be the fifth union for which he has played, and his maiden appearance in Super Rugby.
He has turned out for the Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Western Province (Vodacom Cup), Valke (Currie Cup) and the Pumas (Currie Cup), where he is contracted.
In the other change to the team, Warren Whiteley will receive a starting berth at eighthman, with flanker Cobus Grobbelaar moving to the bench.
Lions skipper Josh Strauss moves to the side of the scrum with Derick Minnie completing the loose trio combination.
Winger Michael Killian will receive his first start of the season, replacing James Kamana, who is also in a race to be fit for the encounter and moves to the bench. Lionel Mapoe has been bracketed with Kamana.
Strauss said winning their opening match of the season was important to get their campaign off the ground.
"Probably performance wise, it didn't go that well but we got through it as a team," Strauss said.
"So, all and all it was a good first week."
Mitchell said he hoped the team would be more accurate against the Hurricanes after an especially lacklustre first-half performance at the weekend.
"I don't know if it was a wake-up call, we got the job done, so we showed character and the rugby will improve," he said.
"I'd like to think that we are going to be even hungrier than last week and more urgent."
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss (captain), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Marius Coetzer/Hendrik Roodt, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 James Kamanagallo/Lionel Mapoe