Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 23-man team to take on the DHL Stormers at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
In the forwards, Robbie Coetzee will start at hooker, in place of Willie Wepener. Jaco Kriel returns to the starting line-up at flank.
Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje will start at scrumhalf, Anthony Volmink makes his first Vodacom Super Rugby start of the year at left wing and Chrysander Botha will start at fullback.
The Cell C Sharks backline shows two injury-enforced changes for this Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby clash against the visiting Cheetahs at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.
Odwa Ndungane’s upper shoulder knock sustained against the Lions in their victory over the Joburg side last week sees him replaced by Tonderai Chavhanga who has been getting game time for the Cell C Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup following his return from injury and makes his debut for the Cell C Sharks at this level.
Tom McCartney has decided to swap Super Rugby for the Pro12 by signing a three-year contract with Irish side Connacht.
McCartney has been a consistent performer for the Blues since he made his Super Rugby debut in 2008 against the Chiefs.
He has since accumulated 64 appearances in the competition.
New Zealand flyhalf Stephen Brett will join second division leaders Lyon on a two year deal from Bayonne next season.
The 28-year-old, who has been capped by the All Blacks at Under-21 level, signed with Bayonne one year ago and has made 20 Top 14 appearances, kicking 15 penalties and a conversion.
Injuries have compelled the Force to make six changes with lock Adam Coleman and scrumhalf Ian Prior making their first appearances in the starting line-up.
Coleman has started on the bench in the Force’s past five matches and earns his first opportunity in the run-on side, packing down alongside Wilhelm Steenkamp.
Chiefs outside back Mils Muliaina has been ruled out for the rest of the Super Rugby season.
The former All Blacks fullback has succumbed to an elbow injury aggravated in their round two match against the Crusaders in February.
Tavis Knoyle has been suspended for four weeks and Sila Puafisi for one at a Rugby Football Union hearing after the match between Gloucester and Bath.
The contentious West Country derby between Gloucester and Bath, which resulted in two red cards and five yellows, has led to the RFU stepping in to deal with the offenders.
Glasgow Warriors have received a timely boost ahead of this Friday’s clash with Ulster at Scotstoun Stadium with Rob Harley and Tyrone Holmes both signing new deals with the club.
The back-row pair have penned new two-year contracts, which will keep them at Scotstoun until at least May 2016.
Fullback Israel Folau is back in the Waratahs team for their Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Sydney on Saturday.
Folau was sensationally withdrawn from the Waratahs’ team on the eve of their match with the Western Force in Perth last Saturday because the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) was concerned about his throat injury.
South-African born prop Reggie Goodes will make his first start of the season for the Hurricanes against the Blues in Wellington on Friday.
The introduction of the 22-year-old loosehead prop is the only change that Hurricanes head coach Mark Hammett has made to his side for the arrival of the Auckland-based side, and it is injury-inforced.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe has been passed fit to face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and will lead the team for their third tour match to Australasia.
This will be the first of two matches the Vodacom Bulls will play in Australia as part of their Vodacom Super Rugby tour.
Van der Merwe got injured in last weekend’s bonus point loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin, but has recovered sufficiently from his arm injury to lead the team.
Cell C Sharks loose-forward Jean Deysel will depart the franchise at the end of the Vodacom Super Rugby season to join Japanese top league club, Toyota Verblitz on a two-year deal.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann may be forced to change a third of his team as mounting injuries and a looming four week Vodacom Super Rugby tour compound his headaches ahead of Saturday’s clash against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
Ackermann has already lost fullback Andries Coetzee (knee) and midfielder Alwyn Hollenbach (lip) and could lose another three players before he names his team on Thursday.
While some of the players are on the borderline whether or not they can play, Ackermann will need to weigh up whether or not to risk them this week or give them a rest to ensure they are ready for the team’s tour in a fortnight.
Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday after battling back from another calf injury that sidelined him for more than a month.
The veteran Blues forward has battled calf injuries for the last three seasons and has played just once in 2014, as a second half replacement against the Crusaders on 28 February.
The Eastern Province Kings are chasing the signature of Springbok prop Brian Mujati ahead of the start of the Currie Cup.
The Kings have already been bolstered by the recent signings of lock Izak van der Westhuizen (Edinburgh), hooker Michael van Vuuren (Stade Français), centre Tim Whitehead (Sharks), scrumhalf Kevin Luiters (Cheetahs) and wing Paul Perez (Samoa).
Heinrich Brüssow will be back in the Cheetahs starting team for their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Lappies Labuschagné has groin injury which paves the way for Brüssow’s return.
The Lions will be without the services of fullback Andries Coetzee and utility back Alwyn Hollenbach for their Super Rugby clash against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee, who recently returned to the playing field after injuring his left knee in pre-season, injured it again against the Sharks last weekend.
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White is yet to decide whether Frans Steyn or Tim Swiel will start at flyhalf against the Cheetahs this weekend.
Fred Zeilinga injured his hamstring in the victory over the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday and was replaced by Steyn who shifted from inside centre and performed well at pivot.
Zeilinga joins first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie on the sidelines, with his injury expected to rule him out for a couple of weeks, which leaves White with an interesting decision.
Highlanders flank TJ Ioane has been ruled out of his team’s two-match tour of South Africa due to a calf strain.
The explosive loose forward has been sidelined for the two home wins against the Rebels and Bulls, and has since been ruled out of their South African trip which features clashes against the Stormers and Sharks.
The Chiefs have been given a boost for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against a resurgent Crusaders team in Hamilton on Saturday as Brodie Retallick has been passed fit.
Retallick was forced to leave the field in Saturday’s ninth round match against the Melbourne Rebels after suffering a head knock but looks OK to play this weekend.
Waratahs back-rower Wycliff Palu is in doubt for this weekend’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Sydney this week following the death of his father last week.
Prop Sekope Kepu and his teammates say that as much as they need in form Palu in the team they will understand if he is unable to play.
Premiership battlers Worcester Warriors have signed 22-year-old tighthead prop Nick Schonert from the Cheetahs.
Schonert, who was part of South Africa’s IRB Junior World Championships side in 2011, is known for his physical presence and technique at the set-piece.
Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has tweeted an X-ray showing nine steel pins inserted into a plate in his broken arm.
The Springbok and Toulon lock successfully underwent an operation to have a plate inserted in his arm after he broke it in Toulon’s 23-10 Top 14 defeat against Brive.
Botha is expected be out for two-and-a-half months, and he has indicated that his rehabilitation is on track.
Squad captain Jean de Villiers, prop Pat Cilliers and lock / flank Jurie van Vuuren are all back on deck this week, and available for selection against the Lions.
Hookers Scarra Ntubeni and Tiaan Liebenberg and wing Kobus van Wyk are not available for selection as yet, whilst flank Schalk Burger and winger Cheslin Kolbe will be given until later in the week to see if they are available.
Andries Coetzee has been sent to a surgeon to reassess his knee which may require a clean up, potentially ruling him out for a week or two.
Coetzee suffered knee ligament damage in the Lions pre-season warm up match against the Eastern Province Kings and has not featured in the Lions campaign until last weekend’s 25-12 loss to the Sharks.