Tshituka responds Lions SOS

In-form Emmanuel Tshituka will start for the struggling Lions in the Currie Cup against the unbeaten Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Friday.

The abrasive loose striker is one of seven players named on Matchday 23 who featured in Saturday’s victory over Benetton in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

JP Smith starts as a loose prop, alongside hooker Jaco Visagie, while Sibusiso Sangweni will join Tshituka in the back row.

Stean Pienaar and Tiaan Swanepoel form a new look three with Boldwin Hansen, former Baby Bok partners Manuel Rass Henco van Wyk in midfield, with nNew signing Sanele Nohamba is set to make his debut on the bench.

A last-minute loss to Griquas two weeks ago left the Lions still winless and entrenched at the bottom of the table.

“We expect a tough game against the Cheetahs. It’s the commercial end of the competition for them and what’s more, they are the in-form team of the competition. The challenge for us is to compete against a quality team,” said coach Mziwakhe Nkosi.

“The theme this week for us was to reflect on our performance against the Griquas, which we thought was a good performance but unfortunately lost it to death.

“If we can take positives from this game, I think we’ll give ourselves a chance to show what we can achieve.”

The Lions – 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Boldwin Hansen, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Manuel Rass, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Andre Warner (c), 8 Jarod Cairns, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Cal Smid, 4 Lunga Ncube, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 JP Smith.
Subs: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Heiko Pohlmann, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Junior White, 20 Lindo Ncusane, 21, Sanele Nohamba, 22 Luke Rossouw, 23 Ilunga Mukendi.

Charles P. Patton