Loffie expects catfight

Lions coach Eugene Eloff has made six changes for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup match against the Vodacom Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

SA U21 star Heinke van der Merwe and lock Jean Deysel will pull on the red and white jersey for the first time at this level. Gert Muller, who comes into the front row for the disappointing Pietman van Niekerk, completes a youthful threesome entrusted with the responsibility of getting the Lions their first win of the tournament.

Other changes see Springbok discard Wayne Julies start at inside centre in place of Thabang Molefe, Louis Ludik start at fullback for Mark Harris and Grant Esterhuizen come in on the wing.

Eloff’s young guns will have to gel with some of his more experience players in order to tame a Cheetahs team who have scored 121 points in their opening two games.

“It’s going to be a tough match,” Eloff told keo.co.za, “but I believe we can come away with a win if we play to our potential.”

Lions team to play Vodacom Free State Cheetahs:

15 Louis Ludik, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Grant Esterhuizen, 10 Earl Rose, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Wikus van Heerden (c), 6 Cobus Grobler, 5 Gerhard Mostert, 4 Jean Deysel, 3 Gert Muller, 2 James van der Walt, 1 Heinke van der Merwe. Subs: 16 Etthiene Reynecke, 17 TBC, 18 Willem Stoltz, 19 Schalk van der Merwe, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Jody Rose, 22 Jaco van Schalkwyk