Pretorius ‘benched’ by the Lions




Lions coach Eugene Eloff has wisely decided not to rush back his captain and ace fly-half Andr’ Pretorius for the opening encounter of their four-match Australasian tour – when they face the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

Although Pretorius has recovered from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him in the first three weeks of the tournament, Eloff has decided to ease him back into action from the bench.

Another Springbok returning from injury, loose forward Jacques Cronj’, will make his debut for the Lions if he comes off the bench. He has also not played a game since joining the Johannesburg-based franchise from their neighbours in Pretoria, the Bulls, this year.

The Lions team shows a number of changes from the side that beat the champion Crusaders 9-3 last week.

As was reported earlier in the week star lock Cobus Grobler will miss the game through a knee injury. Gordon Gilfillan takes over from the injured Grobler in the second row.

In the front row Willie Wepener makes way for Ettienne Reynecke at hooker, loosehead prop Heinke van der Merwe drops out – with Brian Mujati moving from tighthead to loosehead and Bertus Smit coming in at tighthead.

Jaco Pretorius shifts to the wing in place of Jaco van Schalkwyk, who has been bracketed with Earl Rose on the bench, and Doppies La Grange will take his place at inside centre.

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Doppies La Grange, 11 Jaco Pretorius, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willie Alberts, 7 Ernst Joubert (c), 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Gordon Gilfillan, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Bertus Smit, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Brian Mujati
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Cronj’, 20 Enrico Januarie, 21 Andre Pretorius, 22 Earl Rose/Jaco van Schalkwyk

Date: Saturday, 24 February
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Kick-off: 19.05 (10.05 GMT)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Josh Noonan (New Zealand), Julian Pritchard (Australia)
Television match official: Bradley Wahl (Australia)

365 Digital

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