The Lions will use their friendly match against a team made up of South Western District Eagles and Border Bulldogs players in George on Tuesday to give some players valuable game-time.
With less than two weeks before their first Super Rugby clash Lions coach John Mitchell will use this match to give some of his his frontline combinations an opportunity to gel as well as taking a look at some fringe players.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies and inside centre Alwyn Hollenbach, who were so impressive in the Currie Cup last year, are both fighting fit and ready to go with Butch James on the bench and Doppies La Grange playing at outside centre.
Jantjies will be expected to resume the combination with scrumhalf Michael Bondesio and captain and No.8 Joshua Strauss that yielded such rich rewards in the Currie Cup while elsewhere in the team other players will be fighting for a place in the Super Rugby squad.
With the first-choice lock pairing of veterans Franco van der Merwe and Wikus van Heerden being rested for this match Ruan Botha and Hendrik Roodt will get a chance to start this game, with Stephan Greef on the bench, and all three will be hungry to make an impression on the coach.
In the front row former Maties captain Callie Visagie will want to show that he can slot in well between first-choice props Pat Cilliers and JC Janse van Rensburg, while current UJ hooker Francois du Toit is likely to be given a chance to show what he can offer off the bench.
Johan Lerm will be coaching the Eagles/Bulldogs combination and he is well aware that his side are up against a formidable outfit.
He told this website: "This is a great opportunity for our guys to play against the best in the country and we know that we are in for a serious test."
Lerm has picked a side that is very similar to the team that ran the Cheetahs close in East London a couple of weeks ago and he is confident that they will step up to the challenge once again in George.
"We are playing such a strong team that there is no need to motivate my players. Hopefully we can build on the performance against the Cheetahs and improve on that.
"As long as we stay positive and play as a team rather than a group of individuals then we should give a good account of ourselves against the Lions' stars," added Lerm.
Lerm explained that on top of being familiar with each other from the Cheetahs game the team has been training together for a week, and are hoping for good support from the locals in George who he is sure will be out in force to see some of the big names in the Lions team.
Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 James Kamana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Stephan Greeff, 19 Doppies le Roux, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 Lionel Mapoe.
Eagles/Bulldogs: 15 Mzwandile Stick, 14 Vuyo Mboto, 13 Kempie Rautenbach, 12 Elrich van Vuuren, 11 Alshawn Bock, 10 Cecil Dumond, 9 Johan Herbst, 8 Michael Vermaak, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Lindon Hartnick, 5 Grant le Roux, 4 Lubabalo Mpyanda, 3 Dean Hopp, 2 Matthew Taljaard, 1 Jean Rossouw.
Replacements: 16 Ruan Roberts, 17 Byron Schmidt, 18 Renier Schoeman, 19 Nonani Tonga, 20 Lubabalo Mzwakali, 21 Renier van Rooyen, 22 Monty Dumond.
Date: Tuesday, February 14
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Kick-off: 18.00 (16.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Cobus Wessels, Dilbert November
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