Lions to maul the visiting Hurricanes!

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 30: Ruan Combrinck celebrates with Elton Jantjies of the Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Waratahs at Emirates Airline Park on May 30, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Scholtz has been running out for the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup qualifying competition and has been brought in after both Ruan Dreyer and Julian Redelinghuys have been ruled out with wrist injuries.

While there may have been some hope Redelinghuys would be ready this week, both him and hooker Malcolm Marx failed their fitness tests and will now only be back on the field in a fortnight’s time as the Lions have a bye next weekend.

This also means that Armand van der Merwe will once again pack down at hooker with Ramone Samuels on the bench.

Coach Johan Ackermann explained that it was decided to start Scholtz so that he can make an impression rather than leave the former Hoërskool Diamantveld prop to make his debut off the bench.

“Its an opportunity for Pieter. He has been through our structures for a while now, he is a young guy like Dylan, Malcolm and others who have created opportunities over the last few weeks,” Ackermann said.

“It is good for Pieter to start and get stuck into it. We have the experience in Jacques and Corne to come off the bench. I just feel it is fair to him to have that first cap and get into the game instead of sitting on the bench.

“It is obviously a big day for him with big excitement and you maybe put him on with 20 minutes to go and it is a big moment and you put the pressure onto him at a late stage of the game. So we feel he has nothing to lose, he just should give his best to us and the team and enjoy the moment.”

Ackermann said the Lions were wary of the Hurricanes but that he expected a big game where defence, as well as attack, would settle who the winners would be.

“They are obviously an attacking side like every New Zealand side but they pride themselves on their defence. I saw an article where John Plumtree said they needed to put a big effort in on defence. It will definitely be a different challenge for us than last week.

“They are a side that are very dangerous when they get turnover ball. As much as we expect a hard, in-your-face defence, we must look after the ball well. Our ball retention and security will be just as important as our attack.

“I think it is going to be a massive game on attack and defence for both sides. We defensively have to be good because of the quality of players they have and they will see us as a team that also likes to attack and they will sharpen up their defence.”

Emirates Lions: Jaco van der Walt, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosana, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira, Pieter Scholtz, Armand van der Merwe, Dylan Smith.

Replacements: Ramone Samuels, Corne Fourie, Jacques van Rooyen, Ruan Ackermann, Cyle Brink, Ross Cronje, JW Bell.


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