IT MIGHT be the last game of a dismal Super 14 campaign but Lions coach Dick Muir has resisted the temptation to put an experimental side on the field against the Cheetahs tomorrow.
Without a win to their name in 2010, the Lions head to Welkom desperate for some points, but that is going to be a tough ask against a Cheetahs side that is experiencing a mini-resurgence towards the end of the season.
The Lions, though, have taken things a little easier this week in their preparations.
"We've reduced our workload and training this week, which was planned earlier in the season. A couple of the changes we've been forced to make are through injuries," Muir said yesterday at Ellis Park when announcing his starting XV.
Captain Cobus Grobbelaar is out with a quad strain, so Franco van der Merwe moves to the side of the scrum and Wikus van Heerden takes over the captaincy. Deon van Rensburg replaces Michael Killian on the left wing.
Van Heerden realises a trip to the Free State is never an easy assignment and with his side winless and low on confidence, he'll have his work cut out keeping them focused for the full 80 minutes.
"It's our last Super 14 game of the season and we still don't have a win. We'll go out and give it our best shot," he said.
Muir had a word of thanks for the die-hard Lions supporters who have braved going to Ellis Park Stadium week in, week out.
"Thanks from all of us at the Lions. They are the true supporters who stick with us through the tough times. We'll change things shortly."
Crusaders vs Brumbies, Christchurch (9.35am); Waratahs vs Hurricanes, Sydney (11.40am); Sharks vs Western Force, Kings Park (7.10pm).
Blues vs Chiefs, Auckland (9.35am); Reds vs Highlanders, Brisbane (11.40am); Cheetahs vs Lions, Welkom (3pm); Stormers vs Bulls, Cape Town (5.05pm).