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Lions look to rebound against Sunwolves

By RugbyPass

Franco Mostert will lead the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday when they host the Sunwolves in round five of Super Rugby.

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Mostert takes over the captaincy from Warren Whiteley who sustained a grade two PCL injury against the Blues last weekend and will be out for up to four weeks.

Mostert will again don the No.7 jumper in his 69th Super Rugby match on Saturday.

In other changes, Dylan Smith and Jacobie Adriaanse gets a start in the front row while Lourens Erasmus will partner with Marvin Orie at lock. Albertus Smith starts at blindside flanker and Len Massyn will pack down at No. 8.

In the backline Harold Vorster returns to the midfield, which sees Rohan Janse van Rensburg move out to the wing.

These changes are rotational and gives some senior players a rest ahead of the trip to Argentina next week where they will face the Jaguares.

For the Sunwolves, head coach Jamie Joseph has again made plenty of changes.

In the pack, Wimpie van der Walt comes into the second row for Grant Hattingh, while Jiwan Koo takes over at tighthead for Takuma Asahara.

Pieter Labuschagne comes into the side in the No. 7 jersey.

Michael Leitch moves from blindside to No. 8 for this weekend’s clash.

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Yutaka Nagare is back at scrumhalf and takes over the captaincy. William Tupou moves from the wing to the midfield at outside centre.

‘Tongan Godzilla’ Hosea Saumaki will have his hands full in his return, matching up with the powerful Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

SUNWOLVES

15. Kotaro Matsushima, 14. Lomano Lemeki, 13. William Tupou, 12. Michael Little, 11. Hosea Saumaki, 10. Harumichi Tatekawa, 9. Yutaka Nagare (VC), 8. Michael Leitch (VC), 7. Pieter Labuschagne, 6. Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5. Wimpie van der Walt, 4. Kazuki Himeno, 3. Jiwon Koo, 2. Yusuke Niwai, 1. Craig Millar.
Replacements: 16. Atsushi Sakate, 17. Shintaro Ishihara, 18. Hencus van Wyk, 19. Grant Hattingh, 20. Willem Britz, 21. Keisuke Uchida, 22. Ryoto Nakamura, 23. Ryuji Noguchi.

LIONS

15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Len Massyn, 7. Franco Mostert (C), 6. Albertus Smith, 5. Marvin Orie, 4. Lourens Erasmus, 3. Jacobus Adriaanse, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Sithembiso Sithole, 18. Johannes Jonker, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Marnus Schoeman, 21. Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22. Howard Mnisi, 23. Shaun Reynolds.

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Courtesy of @rugby365

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Jon 3 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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