Lions set to unleash Elton
Johannesburg – Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies will be unleashed by the Lions for the first time this year when they play Argentine side Tucuman at Coca-Cola Park on Wednesday night.
While there is a conservative view that Jantjies may struggle in his first year of Super Rugby, the Lions have faith in him. But their expectations will be realistic.
Lions coach John Mitchell told Jantjies to do conditioning work the past week while his team-mates played friendlies against the Stormers and Sharks.
“Elton is sharper now. He has about five weeks of conditioning behind him to get his match-fitness on par,” said Mitchell.
With Doppies la Grange also set to get his first chance in 2011 on Wednesday night, the Lions backline may be close to the one that will take on the Bulls next Saturday.
The Lions will experiment with New Zealander James Kamana at fullback, but will be replaced by Jaco Taute at half-time.
Mitchell will probably also send his first-choice pack on the field.
Patric Cilliers will look to grab his opportunity at tighthead prop, with Kevin Buys on the bench.
Tucuman will want to show that South Africa should remember them for more than just the bloody fistfight against the touring Springboks in 1993.
Argentina’s national team is also set to play with the SANZAR sides in an expanded Tri-Nations from 2012 onwards. Argentina may also look to field regional teams in Super Rugby in the future.
Tucuman, as Argentine club champions, therefore have the important diplomatic task at Coca-Cola Park of making a case for the strength of rugby in Argentina.
James Kamana, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Jano Vermaak, Dries van Schalkwyk, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (captain), George Earle, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg. Substitutes: Martin Bezuidenhout, Kevin Buys, Wikus van Heerden, Cobus Grobbelaar, Rory Kockott, Burton Francis, Jaco Taute, David Bulbring, Michael Rhodes, Jannie Boshoff.
Lucas Barrera Oro, Alvaro Lopez Gonzalez, Federico Haunstein, Ezequiel Faralle, Nicolás Pintado, Santiago Chavanne, Diego Ternavasio, Lisandro Ahualli, Antonio Ahualli, Ignacio Haunstein, Gabriel Pata Curello, Patricio Gimenez, Bruno Cuezzo, Juan Avila, Roberto Tejerizo. Substitutes: Rafael Garrido, Germán Araoz, Emiliano Coria, Juan Pablo Laggarigue, Dino Caceres, Nicolás Centurion, Facundo Rodriguez Prados, Fransisco Granata, Federico Mentz, Anibal Teran, Sebastian Ponce, Juan Pablo Joya, Diego Mas, Proto Luciano.