Van Heerden starts for Lions against Blues

Lions coach John Mitchell has been forced to make one change to the Lions team that narrowly lost to the Stormers for their match against the Blues at Coca Cola Park.

Lock George Earl drops out due to injury and is replaced in the starting line-up by former Lions captain Wikus van Heerden.

The former Lions and Springbok flank has been told by coach John Mitchell that he will mostly be used as a lock this season, and has impressed with his work rate and aggression in the two appearances as a replacement in the first two Super matches.

Van Heerden’s place on the bench is taken by former Bulls loose forward Dries van Schalkwyk.

Mitchell made it clear after last weekend’s heartbreak loss against the Stormers that he would stick with the side that took both last year’s Super 14 finalists to the wire in the Lions’ first two matches this season. He believes in this team – and he emphasised that he is working with the future in mind.

“What impressed me is that we worked together as a team for a longer period. Eleven of the players only played in their second Super Rugby match, and the matches for the past two weekends were against last year’s champions and the other finalist. “

“We’re definitely on an upward spiral,” he said after the second close defeat.

“The match was a big mental deposit for us. We’re not far away. We have to keep working hard for each other and eventually we will get our reward as a group.”

Lions :

Jaco Taute, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (capt.), Wikus van Heerden, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg

Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Kevin Buys, Dries van Schalkwyk , Cobus Grobbelaar, Rory Kockott, Burton Francis, James Kamana.

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