Whiteley: Lions have not have lost any intensity

Lions captain Warren Whiteley has insisted that the Lions are still a motivated side even though they have lost two successive Super Rugby matches at home in Johannesburg.

“I don’t think we have lost any intensity, the willingness, the heart and the fire is still there,” Whiteley said.

“It is just individual decision making, and you might put it down to experience or getting too excited and running from our own half.”

Lions coach Johan Ackermann made four changes to the side that will face the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

Anthony Volmink has been promoted to the starting XV and will make his first Super Rugby start of the year.

He moves into the side at left wing with Courtnall Skosan shifts to the right at the expense of Deon van Rensburg, who suffered an injury over the weekend.

Chrysander Botha will do duty in the last line of defence in the place of an injured Andries Coetzee.

In the only other change to the backline Ross Cronje comes in at scrumhalf for Faf de Klerk, who shifts to the bench as part of a rotational move.

Among the forwards, hooker Willie Wepener pulled his hamstring in training and will be replaced by Robbie Coetzee in the run-on side, while Malcolm Marx will be giving cover off the bench.

Jaco Kriel returns to the starting line-up at flank with Willie Britz finding a place among the replacements.

Ackermann believed the players on the replacement bench could have a strong impact in the latter stages of the match.

The Lions shocked the Stormers with a 34-10 victory in their first encounter of the season at Ellis Park in the second round of the competition.

Ackermann believed the Stormers would give great resistance despite the coastal side battling to find good form.

The Stormers are languishing at the bottom of the combined Super Rugby log having only managed one victory from seven matches.

However, only two of their matches were played at home and they will be hoping that Newlands will be the ally they need to get onto the winning track.

The Lions in comparison have played four matches at their home ground in Johannesburg and will go to Newlands before they embark on their four-week tour of Australasia only after their second bye.

Ackermann said his charges viewed the match against the Stormers in Cape Town as their first match on tour.

“We are looking forward to this one, and we want to see if we can correct what we did wrong in the last two weeks and get the confidence back up there,” Ackermann said.

“We know it is not going to be easy, we’ve got a bye next week where the players will have a few days where they can recover and spend time with their families.

“So, I expect them to have a full go on Saturday and then we can reassess on Monday before the tour.”

Lions team

Chrysander Botha, Courtnall Skosan, Lionel Mapoe, Stefan Watermeyer, Anthony Volmink, Marnitz Boshoff, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (captain), Derick Minnie, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Martin Muller, Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee, Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Corne Fourie, Ruan Dreyer, MB Lusaseni, Willie Britz, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, JW Jonker.

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