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Emirates LionsCrusadersLions (22) 42 / 25 (10) Crusaders (Final Score)

The Emirates Lions and Crusaders did battle in a Super Rugby 2016 Quarterfinal at

Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT, Sunday 02:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Emirates Lions(Updated with BNZ Crusaders playing squad)

The Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named an extended squad of 25 players for the quarterfinal clash against the Crusaders, with the big surprise being the possible return to action of inspirational captain Warren Whiteley.

Whiteley, who was originally diagnosed with an injury which would keep him out of Rugby for 6 weeks, and hence miss the entire Super Rugby play-offs, is to undergo a fitness test on Thursday.

Undoubtedly the Lions management, players and all of their supporters will be hoping that he is declared fit to play.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach, Johan Ackermann has named his team to play the Argentinian side the Jaguars at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday Afternoon.

The team sees the coach sticking to his rotation policy with a total of six changes to the side that so convincingly beat the Blues last week, with exciting lock Lourens Erasmus getting a start in the second row.

Herewith the media announcement from the Emirates Lions.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions wing Ruan Combrink has certainly raised some eyebrows during the 1st half of Super Rugby 2016.

The hard running winger is undoubtedly one of the form players in the African conferences, and it has to be asked in certain circles whether the new National coach has taken note of his strong performances.

Herewith a short biography of the player as issued by the Emirates Lions.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions Head Coach Johan Ackermann has made a number of changes to the side who lost to the Highlanders in Dunedin during Round 3 of Super Rugby 2016, for the clash against the Toyota Cheetahs at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.

In an enforced change due to the suspension of blindside flank Warwick Tecklenburg, the young prospect Ruan Ackermann gets his 1st run-on opportunity in the loose forwards.

Also returning to the starting lineup is Lionel Mapoe who missed the last game to be at the birth of his 1st child, as well as Andries Coetzee at fullback, together with Dylan Smith and Malcolm Marx in the front row.

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Super Rugby 2016 trophyThe Jaguares bounced back from last week’s disappointment to beat a young Emirates Lions team 49 / 28 in an 11-try feast in their Super Rugby pre-season outing Johannesburg on Friday.

Following their 14 / 29 loss to the DHL Stormers last week, the Argentinean newcomers to Super Rugby showed the class that 20-odd internationals can bring to a team – running the Lions ragged – outscoring them by 7 tries to 4 at the Wits Stadium.

Some sublime inter-passing and grand angled running by the visitors that expose some major flaws in the Lions’ defensive set-up.

The Emirates Lions – consisting mainly of their back-up squad –  played decent only in patches.

Their frontline selections were rested before they start their Super Rugby campaign with a historic match against Japan’s newcomers, the Sunwolves, in Tokyo next week.

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Super RugbyJust how the revised Super Rugby format will go down with the South African rugby public is unclear, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The new-look tournament gets underway in less than a month, with the Blues and the Highlanders kicking things off in Auckland on Friday 26 February 2016.

From a South African perspective, the road ahead looks a tough one and if local bookmakers are to be believed there is no standout side from within these borders that looks set to challenge for the title.

Outside of the tournament changes, the majority of the South African franchises have also undergone major alterations with only 2wo sides – the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions – heading into 2016 with the same coaches that did the business in 2015.

The Southern Kings, obviously, were not a part of the 2015 competition but they also have a new man at the helm.

Here, we look at the 6 men tasked with bringing success to their respective franchises:

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley will be captaining the Emirates Lions for the 3rd consecutive Super Rugby season when he again takes the reigns for 2016.

The experienced Whiteley welcomed the responsibility of the captaincy bestowed upon him. “It is a big honour to again lead the Lions in the Super Rugby competition. I take the task very seriously while I also enjoy making decisions on and off the field.

“While I think nothing has changed it becomes easier. Also because we’ve got such a great core of leaders around me,” Whitely said.

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Emirates LionsAll the Lions’ Currie Cup heroes except for Kwagga Smith, who is contracted for National Sevens duty, have been retained for Super Rugby while 9 other stalwarts have strengthened the squad.

Flanker Derick Minnie returns after a long injury lay-off and winger Ruan Combrink and centre Harold Vorster have also been added to the Super Rugby group after missing some Currie Cup action due to injury.

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, centre Lionel Mapoe and hooker Akker van der Merwe, as well as Warrick Tecklenburg will return from overseas duty.

The new squad members are former Steval Pumas scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, Leopards No 9 Dillon Smit, Leopards lock Robert Kruger and Pumas prop Corné Fourie, who are all full-blooded Lions now.

Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has signed a contract with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) which will see him based permanently in Johannesburg. De Klerk, 24, was a shining light for the Emirates Lions during this year’s Super Rugby competition but because he was still contracted to the Steval Pumas, he had to return to Nelspruit for the Currie Cup season. However, the GLRU on Wednesday confirmed that the scrumhalf has signed a deal which means he will also be available for Currie Cup duty.

Steval Pumas fullback JW Bell is the only new face who hasn’t donned the Lions jersey yet.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

No 8 Warren Whiteley has credited coach Johan Ackermann for the revival in Lions rugby.

This season, Ackermann coached the Xerox Golden Lions to an ABSA Currie Cup title while they also had an adequate Super Rugby campaign as the Emirates Lions, winning 9 of their 16 games.

Not only have the Lions showed a revival in form, but they have also done so by employing an enterprising game style.

“This all started when Johan Ackermann took over as head coach and encouraged the players to play for each other and the jersey,” Whiteley told MyPlayers.co.za. “He put the pride back into Lions rugby, which had a major influence on the team. We enjoyed a strong finish to Super Rugby last year, and we did well during this year’s tournament. We’re also doing well in the Currie Cup. This is all reward for the hard work we’ve put in to ensure the Lions excel as a unit… as a family.”

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Xerox Golden LionsThe Xerox Golden Lions side to take on DHL Western Province in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup Final shows 3 changes to the starting line-up at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 24 October 2015 at 13:45 SA Time.

Robbie Coetzee starts at hooker with Malcolm Marx moving to the bench, Kwagga Smith will wear the No 7 jersey while Stephan de Witt takes up a seat on the bench and in the last change Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Stokkies Hanekom will swop places with the latter moving to the bench.

3 Finals will take place on Saturday.

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Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has brought back his rested stars for their semifinal clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.

Jaco Kriel will again lead the team, which has a strong leadership group with Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronjé and Howard Mnisi all back on duty.

Prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Steph de Wit are back in the starting 15 after playing off the bench last weekend against ORC Griquas.

A number of players who started against Griquas will be on the bench this Saturday. They include centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, hooker Robbie Coetzee, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, wing Sampie Mastriet, lock Fabian Booysen and the impact specialist Kwagga Smith.

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Xerox Golden LionsSpringbok No 8 Warren Whiteley will wear the Xerox Golden Lions No 8 jumper against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday but Jaco Kriel will still lead the team on the field.

Steph de Wit will be the 3rd member of the loose-trio with Kwagga Smith moving to the bench.

The 3rd change to the starting line-up is the inclusion of Jacques van Rooyen in the front row.

Lourens Erasmus retains his place at lock after a sterling performance last weekend.

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Alwyn Hollenbach

Alwyn Hollenbach

Xerox Golden Lions centre Alwyn Hollenbach has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect, due to an recurring shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old Hollenbach joined the Lions rugby family in 2009 and has since represented the union 37 times in the Currie Cup, 24 times in Super Rugby and 19 times in the Vodacom Cup.

The centre has been struggling with the same shoulder injury for quite some time and in 2014 it worsened during Super Rugby against the Brumbies. It is the same shoulder that he injured this year in the Currie Cup against the Pumas.

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Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel is back to lead the Xerox Golden Lions against the Vodacom Blue Bulls for the ABSA Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday 12 September.

With Kriel back for his 39th Currie Cup match for the Golden Lions, Kwagga Smith drops to the bench, while Martin Muller also returns from injury in the place of MB Lusaseni while Mullers’ lock partner Franco Mostert is also back.

Ross Cronjé and his Springbok halfback partner Marnitz Boshoff also makes a welcome return.

Cronjé replaces Lohan Jacobs. Boshoff runs out in the place of Jaco van der Walt, who moves to the bench.

In other changes Robbie Coetzee returns to the fray at hooker in a rotational move which sees Malcolm Marx take up the No 16 jersey and Ruan Dreyer is at tighthead prop.

Courtnall Skosan comes in for the injured Anthony Volmink at wing in the only other change to the starting line-up.

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Julian Redelinghuys

Julian Redelinghuys

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley (calf) will not be available for selection for the game against the Blue Bulls on Saturday.

Julian Redelinghuys has a chest injury and will miss training on Monday and Tuesday. He will have to pass a late fitness test on Thursday to play at the weekend.

Martin Muller (ankle) may be available for selection if he passes a fitness test scheduled for Thursday.

Stokkies Hanekom (jaw) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.

Anthony Volmink is out with concussion.

Jaco van der Walt (chest) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.

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