Just like Dick Muir last week, Lions coach Eugene Eloff has produced a shock at fullback for the game against the Blue Bulls.
He has plucked Bedford Blues Club centre Mark Harris from obscurity and handed him the No 15 jersey for the crunch Absa Currie Cup derby at Ellis Park on Saturday.
He will form an inexperienced back three with Wylie Human and Louis Ludick, who last week made his debut at fullback against the Sharks. On Saturday he will be on the left wing.
After the baggage many of the team were carrying following the Cats disastrous Vodacom Super 14 campaign, the new players have helped team morale, says captain Wikus van Heerden.
“The vibe is really good at the moment despite the fact we lost last week,” van Heerden told keo.co.za. “There was a lot of negativity after the Super 14 and we knew we needed changes. and Loffie has brought a different approach to training and the guys are enjoying it more I think.”
Apart from Harris and Ludick, Eloff also introduced young tighthead prop Brian Mujati against the Sharks and by all accounts he acquited himself well against Namibian strongman Kees Lensing.
“The new guys are so keen and that rubs off on the older guys who are still feeling down. The positive nature has a ripple effect. I believe there could be exciting times ahead.”
Both teams will be itching for a win after the Lions lost to the Sharks in Durban and the Bulls struggled to beat the Valke in Pretoria in round one.
Lions team v Blue Bulls:
Mark Harris, Wylie Human, Jaco Pretorius, Thabang Molefe, Louis Ludick, Earl Rose, Jano Vermaak; Pietie Ferreira, Russel Winter, Wikus van Heerden (captain), Gerhard Mostert, Cobus Grobler, Brian Mujati, James van der Walt, Pietman van Niekerk.
Replacements: Ethienne Ryeneke, JC Janse van Rensburg, Jean Deysel, Ernst Joubert, Rory Kockott, Jody Rose, Grant Esterhuizen.
By Andrew Hollely