Lions opt for two locks to their backrow for their Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves in Singapore

A happy Emirates Lions bench after the winning kick of Gianni Lombard of the Emirates Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Rebels at Emirates Airline Park on March 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A happy Emirates Lions bench after the winning kick of Gianni Lombard of the Emirates Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Rebels at Emirates Airline Park on March 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

With their loose forward stocks somewhat depleted‚ the Lions have opted to redeploy two locks to their backrow for their Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.

With Kwagga Smith and Vincent Tshituka the latest backrowers to yield to injury‚ Lions coach Swys de Bruin has gone for the height in selecting Ruan Vermaak and Stephan Lewies in the No8 and No7 jerseys respectively.

By opting for two beanpoles who both jut more than 2m out of their socks‚ the Lions will undoubtedly target line-out superiority against a side that has traditionally been vertically challenged.

De Bruin made six changes in total to the side that recorded a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Melbourne Rebels at Ellis Park last Saturday.

The coach barely explained his decision for one of the tallest packs ever assembled for a Super Rugby match.

“We have one or two plans among the loose forwards‚" De Bruin said.

"Ruan Vermaak will definitely play and we will also look at Hacjivah (Dayimani) playing No8 (from the bench)‚ or among the backs.”

Opting for Vermaak ahead of Dayimani‚ who is a recognised No8‚ De Bruin perhaps revealed the low estimation he now has of the latter.

To be fair‚ Dayimani made little impact in the defeats against the Stormers and the Bulls and dropped out of the squad for last week’s clash against the Rebels.

By suggesting Dayimani may be used in his backline against the Sunwolves‚ De Bruin perhaps let slip where he believes the player should operate in future.

Dayimani possess a devilish sidestep‚ a trait that is under used in the congested space in which he has to operate.

After a stellar performance against the Rebels‚ Lionel Mapoe cracks the nod at inside centre at the expense of Franco Naude‚ while Sylvian Mahuza gets a start at right wing ahead of Ruan Combrinck who underwhelmed against the Rebels.

Nic Groom is the scrumhalf as he rotates with Ross Cronjé‚ while Sti Sithole comes in for the injured Dylan Smith.

Hooker Robbie Coetzee will make his long awaited return to the team from the bench which is yet to be confirmed. De Bruin is keeping everyone in the dark as he is yet to name his substitutes’ bench.

At least he is finding Singapore an illuminating experience.

“What a great place this is. It’s clean and there is no load shedding.

“The guys are very happy. It is very warm‚ perhaps warmed than Durban‚” he said of the city nation.

The Lions team to play the Sunwolves is - Tyrone Green; Sylvian Mahuza‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Courntall Skosan; Elton Jantjies‚ Nic Groom; Ruan Vermaak‚ Stephan Lewies‚ Marnus Schoeman; Marvin Orie‚ Rhyno Herbst; Carlu Sadie‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Sti Sithole.

Substitutes to be confirmed.

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