Wandisile Simelane, a product of Golden Lions rugby since his Under-13 years and last year’s Junior Springbok Player of the Year, Ruan Vermaak and Vincent Tshituka will all start, while on the bench Nathan McBeth, James Venter and Tyrone Green all get an opportunity this weekend.
Simelane will partner Franco Naude in midfield, Sylvian Mahuza comes in at wing, Ross Cronje at scrumhalf, Kwagga Smith moves to No 8, Tshituka slots in at flank while Vermaak forms a new lock combination with Rhyno Herbst.
The Highvelders have made a slow start and their only win to date was over the Jaguares in the opening round in Buenos Aires, followed by losses to the DHL Stormers (away) and Vodacom Bulls (home).
After their initial struggles against the Jaguares, they have now won four of their last five meetings, including this year’s away fixture in the first round. Meanwhile, the Jozi outfit will be out to avoid back-to-back defeats at home for the first time since the beginning of 2015.
The Jaguares, in turn, will be aiming to snap a losing run of three away losses, this after they strung together an impressive run of away wins last year, which included three comeback victories.
What they said:
Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin is excited about the next generation of players coming through in Joburg: “I believe our future looks bright with these young cubs. We back them, our coaching staff have doing fantastic work to bring them through the system and I want our supporters to be patient because we will reap the rewards.”
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee; 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Franco Naude, 11 Courtnall Skosan; 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje; 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcom Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: Pieter Jansen, Nathan McBeth, Frans van Wyk, Stephan Lewies, James Venter, Dillon Smit, Harold Vorster, Gianni Lombard/Tyrone Green.
Head to head:
Emirates Lions won: 5
Jaguares won: 3
Emirates Lions points: 269
Jaguares points: 230
Average score: 37-29
Date: Saturday 9 March
SA time: 15h05
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Griffin Colby
Television Match Official: Willie Vos