Preview: Golden Lions v Griquas

Date published: October 9 2015

Currie Cup tabletoppers the Golden Lions host Griquas, who are languishing at the bottom of the table, in what promises to be an entertaining clash in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The free-scoring Lions are the only unbeaten side left in the competition and have brought plenty of pleasure to their fans with their enterprising style of play this year.

With the semi-finals looming on the horizon, head coach Johan Ackermann has rested his first-choice players and made 14 changes to his starting line-up, however.

Although that decision puts their unbeaten record at risk, Ackermann believes it will reap rewards in the play-offs.

“It (making wholesale changes) wasn’t easy because you have to consider momentum versus mental and physical recovery,” he said.

“I know they (the first-choice players) will come back Monday refreshed which is important so that we can push in the playoffs.”

Ackermann believes the new players in his side will fit in easily and backed them to get the job done.

“The majority of the guys have run with the team for a number of weeks and normally on a Monday we give everybody a chance to run the plays,” he added.

“Hopefully they will settle in quickly and we’ll get that fluency but it is a great position to be in because we can give guys match time before a semi-final and we can see how the guys can play at this level.”

Meanwhile, Griquas head coach Hawies Fourie has made six changes to his run-on side as they try to finish their campaign on a high.

There are four changes to the backline, two alterations in the forwards and various movements on the bench. 

Gouws Prinsloo returns at full-back in place of Ntabeni Dukisa who is now playing on the left wing. Sandile Ngcobo moves from the bench into the number 14 jersey, replacing Danie Dames. 

Ruhan Nel is moved from wing to outside centre, sending Jonathan Francke to the bench. 

Sidney Tobias is now playing hooker, dislodging Martin Bezuidenhout. Props Danie Minnie and Steph Roberts (bench) exchange places, while Riaan Viljoen comes back onto the bench as back utility.

Interestingly, the Nel brothers, Ruhan of Griquas and Jacques of the Golden Lions, will line up opposite each other with both playing in the number 13 jersey for their respective teams.

Prediction: The changes to the Lions line-up evens the playing field but they are playing in front of their home fans. It will be tight but the Lions will win by four points!

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Vainon Willis, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Gerdus van der Walt, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith. 
Replacements: 16 Mark Pretorius, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Stephan de Witt, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Salom Gavor.

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Danie Minnie. 
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Leon Karemaker, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21  Riaan Viljoen, 22 Jonathan Francke.

Date: Saturday, October 10
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16:00 (14:00 GMT)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Francois Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff