The Gautengers moved up to second spot in the closely contested South African Conference after a strong 41-22 home win against the DHL Stormers last Saturday, while the team from Wellington defeated the Cell C Sharks 30-17 in Durban.
The Emirates Lions have 35 log points from their 14 games, six points behind current conference leaders, the Jaguares, and a victory over the New Zealanders will be vital as they aim to keep their playoff hopes alive.
De Bruin’s team emerged unscathed from their bonus-point win over the Capetonians, allowing the experienced coach to announce the same starting fifteen for Saturday’s clash. That means another start for Shaun Reynolds at flyhalf, while Springbok pivot Elton Jantjies moves onto the bench after serving a one match internal suspension.
However, in a late change on Friday due to a knee injury to Stephan Lewies, De Bruin had to make two changes. Reinard Nothnagel moved into the second row, with Hacjivah Dayimani coming onto the bench.
It will be an uphill battle for the Emirates Lions looking at the recent history between the two teams. The Hurricanes have lost only one of their previous 10 matches with the Jozi side – that was in the 2017 semi-final when Gautengers beat them 44-29 to qualify for the second of their three consecutive final appearances.
However, it is worth noting that the Emirates Lions have won 10 from their previous 12 home games at Emirates Airline Park, which includes an encouraging run of three home wins in a row.
What they said:
Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin said the same starting side will provide continuity: “We performed well against a quality DHL Stormers side and the fact that we picked up no injuries meant we were able to pick the same starting side. Each game is important and we want to continue to improve on our performances. The Hurricanes are a very good side so we will have to make sure we do our basics right, and our defence will also have to be solid.”
Emirates Lions (revised): 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Reinhard Nothnagel, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Tyrone Green.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith. Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Head to head:
Emirates Lions won: 2
Hurricanes won: 11
Emirates Lions points: 289
Hurricanes points: 403
Average score: 22-31
Date: Saturday, 8 June 2019
SA time: 15h05
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds, Stefan Geldenhuys
Television Match Official: Willie Vos