Super Rugby preview: Lions host the Crusaders at Ellis Park on Saturday
Last Updated: 05/04/14 12:40pm
Lions host the Crusaders at Ellis Park on Saturday looking to maintain their 100 per cent home record in Super Rugby this season.
The hosts, who had a bye last week, had already seen off the Stormers and Blues in Johannesburg before a narrow 23-20 success over the Reds in their last outing.
The Crusaders will be looking to bounce back, though, after a close 29-26 home defeat to the Hurricanes last time.
Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has made three changes to his squad for the clash.
Martin Muller comes in at lock for the injured Franco van der Merwe in the forwards, while in the backline, Andries Coetzee will start at full-back and Lionel Mapoe comes into the starting XV at outside centre. As a result, Deon van Rensburg shifts to wing.
Among the replacements, Malcolm Marx is set to make his Super Rugby debut while Warwick Tecklenburg and Elton Jantjies also return to the match-day squad.
For the Crusaders, boss Todd Blackadder has made six changes for the clash.
The big news is that captain and No 8 Kieran Read is unavailable for selection due to a head knock he received in last weekend's loss to the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
Luke Whitelock will take his place at the base of the scrum after starting on the blindside flank last weekend.
In other changes, Dominic Bird joins Samuel Whitelock in the second row after Luke Romano was ruled out of contention with a calf injury sustained last weekend, while George Whitelock comes in at number six.
Ryan Crotty will step up to the captaincy this week and also shifts from outside centre to the number 12 jersey.
Two back-line players will get their first starts of the season - Kieron Fonotia at centre and Nemani Nadolo on the wing.
You can see all the action from Ellis Park as the Lions take on the Crusaders live on Sky Sports 2HD from 4:05pm.
Lions: 15 Coetzee, 14 van Rensburg, 13 Mapoe, 12 Watermeyer, 11 Skosan, 10 Boshoff, 9 de Klerk; 1 van der Merwe, 2 Wepener, 3 Redelinghuys, 4 Mostert, 5 Muller, 6 Kriel, 7 Britz, 8 Whiteley (capt).
Replacements: 16 Marx, 17 Fourie, 18 Dreyer, 19 Lusaseni, 20 Tecklenburg, 21 Cronje,
22 Jantjies, 23 Jonker.
Crusaders: 15 Dagg, 14 Nadolo, 13 Fonotia, 12 Crotty (capt), 11 McNicholl, 10 Slade, 9 Ellis; 1 Crockett, 2 Funnell, 3 Franks, 4 Bird, 5 S Whitelock, 6 G Whitelock, 7 Todd, 8 L Whitelock.
Replacements: 16 Flynn, 17 Lienert-Brown, 18 Laulala, 19 Tupou, 20 Taufua, 21 Heinz, 22 Bleyendaal, 23 Taylor.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 8
Highlanders wing Kurt Baker has been hit with a six-week suspension for a dangerous tackle.
The Crusaders broke Super Rugby's away-day hoodoo with a comfortable 28-7 win over the Lions in Johannesburg.
The Chiefs fought back from 34-10 down against the Cheetahs to claim a remarkable 43-43 draw in Super Rugby action.