MTN Lions ChallengeLions coach Johan Ackermann has named five debutants in the starting line-up to face the Russian Bears at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Lock Franco Mostert, flank Warwick Tecklenburg, flyhalf Lionel Cronje and centres Harold Vorster and Stokkies Hanekom will all make their first appearance for the Johannesburg side in the first match of the Lions Challenge series.

The team will be led by experienced prop JC Janse van Rensburg who will have senior players Michael Bondesio, Hendrik Roodt and Derrick Minnie to support him.

The Russian team suffered a 14-0 defeat to the University of Johannesburg in a mid-week warm-up game, but have World Cup experience behind them so should provide a test for Ackermann’s charges.

Meanwhile the Golden Lions Rugby Union also announced, on behalf of the Rugby Union of Russia, the 23-man squad to face the MTN Lions.



Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (Captain).
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Jacques Kotze, 19 Hugo Kloppers, 20 Claude Tshibidi, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Ruhan Nel.


Russian Bears: 15 Igor Klyuchnikov, 14 Andrey Otrokov, 13 Yaroslav Rechnev, 12 Alexey Makovetskiy, 11 Mikhail Babaev, 10 Sergey Yanyushkin, 9 Alexander Yanyushkin, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Artem Fatakhov, 6 Andrey Temnov, 5 Maxim Kiselev, 4 Alexander Voytov, 3 Innokentiy Zykov, 2 Valeriy Tsnobiladze, 1 Grigory Tsnobiladze
Replacements: 16 Alexey Volkov, 17 Sergey Novoselov, 18 Evgeny Pronenko, 19 Pavel  Kvernadze, 20 Pavel Butenko, 21 Alexey Shcherban, 22 Sergey Sugrobov


Date: Saturday 19 January
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Johan Greeff

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