Wilkus and Butch return for Lions in Currie Cup

Lock Wikus van Heerden returns to the Golden Lions starting line up and Butch James has been named on the bench for the Lions Currie Cup match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Seven of the Lions stalwarts during the Currie Cup season are being rested for the final regular match of the season after the Lions secured a home Semi-final last weekend.

Springbok flyhalf Butch James, just back from the World Cup, has been bracketed with Alwyn Hollenbach on the bench.

“Butch must first undergo the usual tests, but if he’s fit we’d like him to be part of our preparations in case he’s in the mix for the play-offs,” said Lions team manager Mustapha Boomgaard

Seven of the players who started against Western Province last week have been moved to the bench while Van Heerden returns.

“He is fit and ready, but should anything go wrong before the match David Bulbring will start again,” Boomgaard said on Tuesday.

Van Heerden had a knee operation from which he has fully recovered, and Bulbring isbracketed with Van Heerden on the team list as cover, according to Boomgaard.

As the Lions have already qualified for a home semi-final and also the Currie Cup final should they advance to the competition’s highlight, coach John Mitchell has decided to give some of those who have worked hardest during the season a break.

“It also gives other players the chance under match conditions, something which could be important in the play-offs if any of the regular players are injured,” explained Boomgaard. “This is in no way an indication that we underestimate the Sharks.”

Behind the scrum only Jaco Taute, Deon van Rensburg, Doppies la Grange and Michael Bondesio retain their places, with Dylan Des Fountain, James Kamana and Burton Francis coming in for Hollenbach, Michael Killian and Elton Jantjies respectively.

Up front tighthead Patric Cilliers, hooker Bandise Maku, flank Derick Minnie and lock Franco van der Merwe are being rested and are replaced by Jacobie Adriaanse, Martin Bezuidenhout, Jaco Kriel and Van Heerden respectively.

The team is:

Jaco Taute, Deon van Rensburg, Dylan Des Fountain, James Kamana, Burton Francis, Michael Bondesio, Warren Whiteley, Joshua Strauss (capt.), Jaco Kriel, Michael Rhodes, Wikus van Heerden/David Bulbring, Jacobie Adriaanse, Martin Bezuidenhout, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: Bandise Maku, Patric Cilliers, Franco van der Merwe, Derick Minnie, Elton Jantjies, Alwyn Hollenbach/Butch James, Michael Killian

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