Jaque Fourie returns for the Lions


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World Cup centre Jaque Fourie is back for the Lions – and coach Eugene Eloff will heave a sigh of relief at the return of the experienced three-quarter who will hopefully make a difference to a very ordinary backline.

In a major shake-up to the backline, Fourie has been selected as outside centre.

He is being partnered with Walter Venter who moves to inside centre. Venter has been one of the two outstanding backs in the side with Louis Ludik.

Earl Rose is retained at fullback after a disastrous match against the Hurricanes last weekend, but wing Dusty Noble is replaced by Rayno Benjamin.

The dependable Ludik is on the other wing in place of Jannie Boshoff in another permutation of the back three where he has been a rare ray of light on attack and defence throughout the dismal season.

Willem Alberts is also back from the neck injury he sustained on the Lions’ Australasian tour and will take over as No 8 from Joe van Niekerk, who moves to flank in place of Franco van der Merwe.

It will be Springbok Fourie’s first Super 14 match of the season and only his second after returning from the Springboks’ tour to Wales and England at the end of last year. Fourie sustained a groin-related injury and was operated on before the start of the season.

He played for the Xerox Lions in the Vodacom Cup quarter-final the weekend before last in his first match after the injury and operation.

The home side are looking for a morale-boosting win that will go a long way towards regaining their pride, while the visiting Chiefs side, in fifth place on the log, are looking to secure a top four finish.

The Lions could do the Sharks a huge favour by beating the Chiefs.

Lions team:

Earl Rose, Louis Ludik, Jaque Fourie, Walter Venter, Rayno Benjamin, , Jaco van Schalkwyk, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Joe van Niekerk, Cobus Grobbelaar (capt.), Gerhard Mostert, Dewald Senekal, JC Janse van Rensburg, Willie Wepener, Heinke van der Merwe.

Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Ross Geldenhuys, Franco van der Merwe, Wilhelm Koch, Chris Jonck, Jannie Boshoff, Dusty Noble.

Sapa –

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