Jannes Labuschagne will play his first Super Rugby game in almost three years when the Lions take on the Stormers at Newlands.
Labuschagne’s last Super 14 match was on 8 April 2006 when the Cats went down to the Reds, while he retired from rugby later that year. He returned from his exclusion in late 2008 in the Currie Cup, but minor knee surgery has kept him on the sidelines during this campaign.
Labuschagne, 32, replaces the impressive Gerhard Mostert in the second row, while Franco van der Merwe reclaims his place on the blindside flank in place of Ernst Joubert. Van der Merwe will provide an extra lineout option as Joubert gets game time in the Vodacom Cup.
Heinke van der Merwe returns from his one-match suspension, with Lawrence Sephaka shifting to tighthead and Gert Muller dropping to the bench.
In the backs, the only change will see Barry Goodes make his debut for the Lions in place of the injured Doppies la Grange in the centres.
On the bench, Shandre Frolick replaces Jannie Boshoff, who will play in the Vodacom Cup side to take on the Leopards.
Lions – Louis Ludik, Ashwin Willemse, Jaque Fourie, Barry Goodes, Henno Mentz, Andre Pretorius, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar (c), Jannes Labuschagne, Anton van Zyl, Lawrence Sephaka, Willie Wepener, Heinke van der Merwe.
Subs: Hans van Dyk, Gert Muller, Gerhard Mostert, Todd Clever, Chris Jonck, Earl Rose, Shandre Frolick.