Lions coach Swys de Bruin rings the changes for Saturday’s clash against the Jaguares

07 March 2019 - 16:24 By Liam Del Carme
The Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin.
The Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Coach Swys de Bruin has turned to some of the Lions’ cubs to restore a spring to his team’s step in this season’s Super Rugby.

The Lions have lost consecutive matches to the Stormers and the Bulls and are at the foot of the South African conference.

They are now in territory they have not been in since the franchise’s days of struggle predating their temporary exit from the tournament.

As expected De Bruin has rung the changes for the Saturday’s clash against the Jaguares at Ellis Park.

Spring-heeled centre Wandisile Simelane will partner with Franco Naude in midfield‚ Sylvian Mahuza slots in at wing‚ Ross Cronjé is in at scrumhalf‚ Kwagga Smith moves to number eight making way for Vincent Tshituka at number seven‚ while Ruan Vermaak comes in at lock at the expense of Stephan Lewies.

The new recruits on the bench are Nathan McBeth‚ James Venter and Tyrone Green. The latter‚ however‚ has been bracketed with Gianni Lombard.

The changes are bold considering the experience the Jaguares will bring to Ellis Park. They are effectively made up of national team players already hard baked in the cauldron of international rugby.

De Bruin‚ however‚ is seeking a reaction after a disappointing loss to the Bulls. They were comprehensively outplayed by their neighbours‚ especially upfront.

The Lions‚ who are the current national u21 champions‚ have reason to be optimistic about their tyros.

“They are unreal some of these guys coming through‚” gushed De Bruin.

“Some of them excite me. Some of these guys will become household names. They are humble.”

He is pleading patience as the youngsters find their feet.

“I want to ask the fans to back them and support them. I’m very excited about our youth.”

The Lions team to play the Jaguares is:

Andries Coetzee; Sylvian Mahuza‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Franco Naude‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies‚ Ross Cronje; Kwagga Smith‚ Vincent Tshituka‚ Marnus Schoeman; Rhyno Herbst‚ Ruan Vermaak; Carlu Sadie‚ Malcom Marx (captain)‚ Dylan Smith.


Pieter Jansen‚ Nathan McBeth‚ Frans van Wyk‚ Stephan Lewies‚ James Venter; Dillon Smit‚ Harold Vorster‚ Gianni Lombard/Tyrone Green