On Tuesday the Lions announced a 35-man squad that will take part in the Lions Challenge series that kicks off against Russia this Saturday at Ellis Park.
15 of the players are yet to make their debut for the Lions, but there are experienced players as well like captain JC Janse van Rensburg, Derick Minnie and CJ van der Linde, while some of the players named in the squad are currently injured and will miss the first part of the Challenge, like Deon van Rensburg (out until end of February), Ruan Combrinck (out for 3 to 4 months with a shoulder injury) and Dylan des Fountain.
Some of the new players are guys that came through the ranks and still played for the Lions U/19 and U/21 teams in 2012, and hopefully they will grab this opportunity they get and make the most of it.
The full squad is:
Loosehead Prop: JC Janse van Rensburg, Jacques van Rooyen
Hooker: Martin Bezuidenhout, Robbie Coetzee, Francois du Toit
Tighthead Prop: Ruan Dreyer, CJ van der Linde, Jacques Kotze
Lock: Willie Britz, Franco Mostert, Hendrik Roodt, JJ Breet, Gavin Annandale, Hugo Kloppers
Loose Forward: Jaco Kriel, Derick Minnie, Warwick Tecklenburg, Warren Whiteley, Claude Tshibidi
Scrumhalf: Michael Bondesio, Ross Cronje
Flyhalf: Marnitz Boshoff, Guy Cronje, Lionel Cronje, Harold Vorster
Centre: Dylan des Fountain, Alwyn Hollenbach, Deon van Rensburg, Stokkies Hanekom, Jacques Nel
Wing: Ruan Combrinck, Deon Helberg, Anthony Volmink
Fullback: Andries Coetzee, Ruhan Nel
The Lions Challenge series was launched in Johannesburg last Thursday afternoon. The tournament will see the Lions take on a total of sixteen teams, including international outfits such as Russia, Samoa and Namibia, local sides the Bulls, Sharks, Cheetahs and Stormers and French teams such as Montpellier, Mont de Marsan, Grenoble and Agen, and it takes place between January and July this year.
This is to prepare the Lions for their promotion/relegation matches in July/August, to try and win back their Super Rugby participation in 2014.
GLRU President Kevin de Klerk emphasised the importance of the tournament as a motivating factor for the players, coaches and management staff following the Lions’ exclusion from Super Rugby. “Our absolute philosophy was to keep going and come together as an outfit to ensure that we as a Union – staff and players – had something to work with, and for, in place of Super Rugby,” explained De Klerk. “We are excited to see our hard work come to life when the tournament gets under way next week.”
The new jersey -