John Mitchell has made five changes to the Lions’ run-on side for the clash against the Bulls in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Most of the changes are in the backline, which has been reshuffled. Alwyn Hollenbach moves to inside centre in Butch James’s place, while Jaco Taute is switched from fullback to outside centre. Andries Coetzee moves to fullback, while James Kamana is selected at wing.
In the pack, lock Stephan Greeff replaces injured youngster Paul Willemse. Hooker Callie Visagie is rotated with Martin Bezuidenhout.
The Lions have lost five of their six matches and face possible relegation if they finish last in the South African conference in light of the Kings’ assured entry into the tournament in 2013 and Sanzar’s refusal to accommodate an extra team from the Republic.
Asked about fears relating to that situation, Mitchell said: ‘It is a valid question, but that is not our game plan. That is the administrators’ game plan to play and they obviously have to be clever and play that smart.
‘At the end of the day, all we have to do is continue to progress as an inexperienced Super Rugby side, so that is the only thing we can control. I don’t get involved in that stuff and it is certainly not part of our motivation, and as far I as am concerned it is negative motivation if you want to get into survival mode.
‘I have never had that philosophy and I never will; this side will continue to be ambitious and will look to grow.’
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 James Kamana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/CJ van der Linde, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Christo le Roux, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Lionel Mapoe.