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    Lions to sink claws into Cheetahs

    2015-04-23 22:04

    Johannesburg - The Lions will be hoping to keep up their momentum when they host the Cheetahs in the first of two local derbies in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    However, the current run Johan Ackermann's team are on is not their best in their Super Rugby history, they would need one more win for their best-ever run of consecutive victories of five – they won four on the trot in 2007.

    "We haven’t even thought of it [the winning streak]. We just want to keep performing and we know very well there are areas to improve," said Whiteley when asked about the team's form.

    The Lions starting team shows three changes – at wing, Courtnall Skosan comes in for Mark Richards, while Armand van der Merwe (hooker) and Ruan Dreyer (tighthead prop) have been rotated with Robbie Coetzee and Julian Redelinghuys.

    On the bench, Redelinghuys and Coetzee are joined by MB Lusaseni (in for the injured Derick Minnie) and Ross Cronje, who takes over from Lohan Jacobs.

    "I hope we’ve made other teams sit up and notice us and hopefully the results show that we can compete," said Ackermann.

    "Respect is earned.

    "The set phases will be a challenge for us.

    "We know their line-outs are strong and we’ll have to try counter that, but the Cheetahs are a bit of an unknown factor [with all their injuries] and they will be very dangerous as they’ve not yet given up.

    Despite the injuries which has plagued his squad, Naka Drotské believes his team still have enough to trouble the one time Super 10 champions.

    The Cheetahs’ starting line-up shows five changes of which one is positional – at the back, Joe Pietersen moves from flyhalf to fullback with Coenie van Wyk and Willie le Roux injured, while Willie du Plessis takes over at 10.

    Upfront, Tienie Burger replaces the injured Heinrich Brüssow, while there are two new props in Maks van Dyk (in for the injured Coenie Oosthuizen)and Danie Mienie (who takes over from BG Uys).

    On the bench, Caylib Oosthuizen and Ewald van der Westhuizen are the new props, Carel Greeff provides loose forward cover and Clayton Blommetjies is in to cover wing and fullback.

    "The injuries are a huge set-back.

    "There is nothing you can do about it and it wouldn’t help to sit and brood about it. At the same time it creates opportunities for younger players to prove themselves worthy," said Drotské.

    "We still believe that we can beat the Lions and we’re not going to lie down.

    "The Lions play really good rugby and have become a well-established group over the last couple of years."

    However, Drotské's charges will have to elevate their game as they have failed to beat their former Cats colleagues from the north in three years when they romped to a 26-5 in Welkom.



    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

    Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi


    15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Boom Prinsloo, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveldt, 1 Danie Minnie

    Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Michael van der Spuy, 23 Clayton Blommetjies

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