Preview: Golden Lions v EP Kings

Date published: September 4 2015

The Golden Lions' will look to retain their perfect start to the season when they host the EP Kings in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann and his troops have made a superb start to the season, winning all their fixtures with bonus points and they will look to repeat their Round One performance against the Kings in their season opener.

That day the Lions were in a rampant mood and scored six tries as they registered a 51-14 victory.

Meanwhile, inside centre Howard Mnisi will take over the home side's captaincy after Springbok loose forward Warren Whiteley was forced to withdraw with a calf injury.

Mnisi will be the Lions' third captain of the season. Flanker Jaco Kriel, who was appointed captain at the start of the campaign when Whiteley was on Springbok duty is injured, while Ross Cronje, who led the side in last weekend's 41-11 victory over the Pumas, is being rested for the clash with the Kings.

Ackermann is backing Mnisi to be successful in the leadership role.

“Howard is a key player in our group," he said.

"He is an 80-minute player who is the ideal candidate to lead our troops.”

Mnisi is keen to impress in his new role.

"I'm very excited to take on the responsibility. It's a great honour to lead the team."

Meanwhile the Kings, who have been dealing with off-field issues over lack of payment of players, have put out virtually a second string side, with ten changes to their team.

Skipper Luke Watson is among the absentees, despite not being injured, and in fact none of those missing are out due to injury officially.

Prediction: The Lions are on a high and shouldn't have any trouble in seeing off their weakened visitors. Lions to win by 35 points!

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Lourens Erasmus, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jacques Nel.

EP Kings: 15 Hansie Graaff, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Sylvian Mahuza, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Basil Short, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 JP du Plessis.

Date: Saturday, September 5
Venue: Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Ricus van der Hoven
Television match official: JJ Wagner