Lions ring changes

John Mitchell has made nine changes to his run-on side for the Lions’ home semi-final match against WP on Saturday.

With the Lions smashed 53-9 by the Sharks last weekend, head coach Mitchell has now named his strongest team for the play-off at Ellis Park.

Six of those changes are in the pack, which features a new front row. Springbok prop CJ van der Linde takes over at loosehead while hooker Bandise Maku and tighthead prop Pat Cilliers are penciled in at the expense of JC Janse van Rensburg, Martin Bezuidenhout and Jacobie Adriaanse respectively.

Lock Franco van der Merwe partners Wikus van Heerden in the second row while Michael Rhodes returns to the loose trio, which includes skipper Josh Strauss and the returning Derick Minnie. Warren Whitely and Jaco Kriel fall out.

In the backline, Elton Jantjies starts at pivot with Burton Francis left out of the match 22. Springbok flyhalf Butch James remains on the bench, which has no reserve scrumhalf. Inside centre Alwyn Hollenbach and wing Michael Killian also return to the starting XV.

Lions – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar/Jaco Kriel, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.