Venter, Horn to Face Leinster - Lions rugby

Venter, Horn to Face Leinster

Team Announcement | Emirates Lions & Lions u20 | VURC | SA Rugby u20 Cup

Emirates Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen is set to unleash Ruan Venter and Junior Springbok, Quan Horn when his side takes on Leinster in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at the RDS Arena on Friday.

The two, who have been impressive in junior and senior provincial competitions in the last year, will line up in a match 23 which sees centre Wandisile Simelane and Jordan Hendrikse make their return to the starting XV.

“We’re excited to see how Ruan and Quan go tomorrow. It’s an extended opportunity for them to immerse themselves into our system and ultimately express their talent on the big stage,” said Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen further went on to comment on the privilege of touring as a team but at the same focusing on the job at hand come the weekend.

“Touring is always a great opportunity for the guys to strengthen bonds and build on our culture, which bodes well for team culture and ultimately on-field synergy.”

“In terms of our approach tomorrow night, the catalyst for us will be the ability to adapt our style of play and our decision making at key moments during the game,” cautions Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen is optimistic about his side’s set piece play despite the challenges at lock, with a considerable amount of his jumpers out with injury.

“The focus will be ensuring we get accurate line-out ball to create a platform for us to launch our attack and hold onto possession for as long as we can. Leinster is a side that thrives on getting their hands on the ball,” he concluded.

Elsewhere, Lunga Ncube and Nico Steyn are in line to make their competition debuts.

Kick-off is at 21:35 (SA time).

Meanwhile, the Lions U20 will launch their title defence against Eastern Province U20 in the SA Rugby U20 Cup on Friday. The match will be hosted at Emirates Airline Park.

Head Coach Mziwakhe Nkosi says there’s a positive energy amongst the players ahead of their opening fixture.

“The guys are really excited ahead of this year’s campaign in particular the new U19s,” says Nkosi.

“There’s a big responsibility upon them in trying to defend the title. To be fair however, it’s a new team with a new identity so we look forward to guiding them as they do it their own way.”

The Lions U20 mentor, who in concert with Wessel Roux steered the group to an unbeaten 2021 season, ultimately leading to the championship. With the bulk of that winning side currently featuring in Carling Currie Cup and Vodacom United Rugby Championship competitions, Nkosi believes this serves as inspiration for his young group.

“We pride ourselves at the Lions on our junior system. It’s not a destination but a pathway for our young players. Having a large part of last year’s group play in domestic and international competitions, it serves as a huge motivator for the current group, and they will hope to follow in their footsteps in months to come,” he concluded.

Kick-off is at 12:30.

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Emirates Lions vs Leinster

Emirates Lions

15.Quan Horn 14. Stean Pienaar 13. Wandisile Simelane 12. Burger Odendaal 11. Edwill van der Merwe 10. Jordan Hendrikse 9. Morne van den Berg 8. Francke Horn 7. Ruan Venter 6. Jaco Kriel (c) 5. Ruben Schoeman 4. PJ Steenkamp 3. Carlu Sadie 2. Jaco Visagie 1. Sti Sithole Replacements: 16. PJ Botha 17. Morgan Naude 18. Ruan Dreyer 19. Lunga Ncube 20. Sibusiso Sangweni 21. Nico Steyn 22.Manuel Rass 23.Tiaan Swanepoel


SA Rugby U20 Cup Lions U20 vs EP U20

Lions U20

  1. Sam Francis 14. Lindani Maphisa 13. Keegan Smith 12. Josh Jonas 11. Lungelo Sithole 10. Sihlalo Benge 9. Layton Horn 8. Sisonke Vumazonke 7. Tiaan Wessels 6. Joshua van Vreden (c) 5. Henk Gouws 4. Justin Kalamer 3. Heiko Pohlmann 2. Ricardo Fourie 1. SJ Kotze Replacements: 16. Sikholise Nanto 17. Ndinovuyo Holiday 18. RF Schoeman 19. Armin Weideman 20. Nathan Lainis 21. Tiaan van Wyk 22. Josh Harold 23. Divan Moss 24. Dan Botha. 25 Tyler van Wijk 26. Sifiso Dlamini