Injured Alberts will miss the Lions’ trip
Bok loose forward and scrumhalf Ross Cronjé still on the mend
Willem Alberts remains sidelined and will miss the Lions’ inaugural trip to Europe for their opening four fixtures in the United Rugby Championship (URC).
The Lions on Tuesday named a 33-man touring squad ahead of their URC campaign sans Springbok loose forward Alberts, fellow Bok and scrumhalf Ross Cronjé, backline tyro Gianni Lombard and utility back Tiaan Swanepoel.
Alberts is still rehabilitating from a hamstring injury, Cronjé from ankle surgery, while Lombard has been out with a long-term ankle injury.
All three, however, form part of the Lions’ wider group for the URC.
The Lions are also expected to start their campaign without another Bok loose forward Jaco Kriel who is also on the injured list. He is, however, expected to regain fitness during the four-week tour.
Lions kick off campaign on Heritage Day
The Lions open their campaign against Italian side Zebre on Heritage Day.
Head coach Ivan van Rooyen was upbeat his players can quickly familiarise themselves with the unfamiliar conditions they will encounter in Europe.
“We’re pretty excited about the group. As a coaching unit we have been fortunate enough to have time to discuss and plan how we want to approach the URC. This was coupled with a few on-field sessions before settling on a final 33.
“We expect conditions to be challenging up north but at the same time looking forward to competing and establishing ourselves as the competition progresses,” said Van Rooyen.
Back in the squad is lock Wilhelm van der Sluys after fully recovering from a shoulder injury. Also included in the touring party are new loan recruits Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Eddie Fouche, Matt More, Morgan Naude and Ginter Smuts.
Lions URC Touring Squad
PJ Botha, Morne Brandon, Ruan Dreyer, Jannie du Plessis, Francke Horn, Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Jaco Kriel, Morgan Naude, Reinhard Nothnagel, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Carlu Sadie, Sibusiso Sangweni, Ruben Schoeman, Sti Sithole, Ruhan Straeuli, Emmanuel Tshituka, Vincent Tshituka, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Jaco Visagie.
Eddie Fouche, Jordan Hendrikse, Sibahle ‘Rabz’ Maxwane, Matt More, Burger Odendaal,
Stean Pienaar, Manuel Rass, Divan Rossouw, Wandisile Simelane, Ginter Smuts, Jamba Ulengo, Morne Van den Berg, EW Viljoen, Andre Warner.
Lions tour fixtures
September 24 — Zebre vs Lions (Parma)
October 1 — Scarlets vs Lions (Llanelli)
October 9 — Glasgow Warriors vs Lions (Glasgow)
October 15 — Ulster vs Lions (Belfast)