Lions unchanged for Currie Cup final vs Sharks

Golden Lions coach John Mitchell has retained the squad of 22 that beat Western Province in the semi-final for the Currie Cup final against the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

The only potential change is prop JC Janse van Rensburg who is bracketed on the bench with last week’s prop replacement Jacobie Adriaanse.

Last week’s starting side has been retained – including World Cup prop CJ van der Linde who was included in the side after a hamstring injury to Van Rensburg.

The versatile Van der Linde did duty on the loosehead side where he has been selected again to face probably the Sharks’ front row full house of three World Cup Boks Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and his brother Jannie. The Sharks side has not been announced.

On the bench the uncertainty regarding Van Rensburg’s injury has led to the bracketing of the two replacement props. Adriaanse was on the bench last weekend and saw ten minutes of action in the second half as a blood eplacement.

“We’ll wait till just before the game before making the call on JC’s fitness,” Mitchell said on Wednesday.

It is the Lions first home final since 2002 when they lost to the Blue Bulls and their first final since 2007, when they lost in the final two minutes against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Some 65 000 spectators will pack into a full house at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday with all the tickets sold out.

Three of the 2007 side involved in the Bloemfontein final are again in the match-22, albeit that Van Rensburg is bracketed as a replacement: lock Franco van der Merwe, replacement Cobus Grobbelaar who was then the run-on No 6 flank, and Van Rensburg who was on the bench but came on right at the end.

Kick Off is at 5.30pm.

Golden Lions team

15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (capt.), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ van der Linde.

Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Warren Whiteley, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan Des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.

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