Alberts replaces Pieter Jansen van Vuren, who suffered a pectoral muscle injury during training this week. This means that former Junior Springbok Ruan Venter, fresh from Carling Currie Cup duty, could get an opportunity off the bench in the eagerly anticipated Jukskei Derby.
In other changes to the team, Emmanuel Tshituka will start at the side of the scrum, with PJ Botha coming in at hooker for the injured Jaco Visagie. Morne Brandon, Ruhan Straeuli and Sibusiso Sangweni complete the new additions to the replacements.
Emirates Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen said he feels sorry for Jansen van Vuren: "He worked so hard to come back from his knee injury he suffered on tour. We wish him a speedy recovery from this latest setback.
"The opportunity now awaits Ruan who’s had a fantastic past few months, including a SA Rugby U20 Cup winner’s medal. He could possibly get his chance on Saturday.
“Providing opportunities to young players is a common theme for us here at the franchise and it’s something we pride ourselves in. In the same breath, the entire squad buys into what we are trying to achieve in the VURC , so everyone plays a key part towards that goal.”
Emirates Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel (vice-captain), 5 Willem Alberts, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Sti Sithole. Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Venter, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Sibusiso Sangweni, 22 Morne van den Berg, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.