Sunday, December 10, 2023
HomeRugbyKriel, Lombard back for Lions, Pretorius set for debut

Kriel, Lombard back for Lions, Pretorius set for debut

Springbok Sevens star JC Pretorius is set to make his Lions debut in the Challenge Cup match against French side Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday, while Jaco Kriel returns to the side after injury.

These are among the personnel changes to the side that went down 33-3 against Munster in a URC match in Cork last weekend.

Also, Gianni Lombard returns at flyhalf, taking over from Jordan Hendrikse who has an ankle injury.

There is also a potential debut on the cards for former Paarl Boys pupil Rhynardt Rijnsburger, who could feature in the front row at some stage.

‘Turn things around’

Speaking to the media earlier this week, the Lions’ attack coach Ricardo Loubscher said Saturday’s challenge in the French capital would be an opportunity for the players to turn the tide, after a string of defeats.

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“The last few weeks have been tough for us on the road, but the team spirit remains high and the focus for us has been on how we can turn things around,” said the former Bok back.

“The willingness and commitment from the guys remains, so it’s for us to go out and execute.”

Loubscher is a former coach at Stade Francais, having worked at the club in 2019 and he said he understands first-hand what gets them going, especially at home.

“They are obviously on a high at the moment with some decent results in their domestic competition. Speaking from experience, they are a different team at home. They are more passionate in front of their home fans combined with providing entertainment through their style of rugby.”

Kick-off is 3pm.

Lions: Andries Coetzee, Quan Horn, Henco van Wyk, Marius Louw (capt), Edwill van der Merwe, Gianni Lombard, Morne van den Berg, Emmanual Tshituka, Emile van Heerden, Jaco Kriel, Darrien Landsberg, Willem Alberts, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, JP Smith. Bench: Michael van Vuuren, Rhynardt Rijnsburger, Ruan Smith, Ruhan Straeuli, Sibusiso Sangweni, JC Pretorius, Andre Warner, Manuel Rass



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