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One of three Boks deployed as British & Irish Lions first SA opposition named

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has opted to push some of the younger players into the frontline against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday. The Johannesburg-based Lions will front up to a powerful British and Irish Lions team at Ellis Park in the opening fixture of their eight-match tour.


Jordan Hendrikse is back from Baby Bok duty and starts for the Lions at flyhalf. The 20-year-old played only a handful of games for the local Lions, having made his senior debut in the Rainbow Cup earlier this year.

However, he has shown glimpses of the raw talent that earned him a call-up to the national Under-20 tear and will be a key player for the hosts.

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Other noteworthy inclusions are at centre, where sometimes skipper Burger Odendaal starts, and at prop where Sithembiso Sithole also return to the matchday 23.

Despite the ominous look of the tourists, Van Rooyen has left two Springbok veterans out of the matchday 23 – prop Jannie du Plessis and flank Jaco Kriel.

The Lions coach the team selection involved an element of “game readiness, current form and consistency”.

“I went with a team that has played in the last 10 days and played well,” he said of their Currie Cup win over Western Province last week.


“It was a big decision,” he said, adding: “Jannie [du Plessis] and Jaco [Kriel] would have loved this opportunity.

The coach is savouring the opportunity for his young squad to go up against this iconic side.

“This is such a big opportunity for every player involved,” Van Rooyen said.


“There is such a small group of guys who will have the chance to play against players of this calibre in their lifetime, and I hope that they truly take a moment to take it in and savour the enormity of the moment.”

Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Dan Kriel.


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