Can The Lions Withstand The 2nd Half Front Row Onslaught By The Stormers?

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The DHL Stormers will host the Lions at the Cape Town Stadium @ 17h15 today. Both coaches have made several changes to their starting line-up, in preparation for the start of the confirmed Rainbow Cup. 

The Lions are unbeaten during the Preparation Series. They showed in their last match against the Sharks (43-40) that their fitness is of a very high standard, securing the win with no time left on the clock.

The Stormers started with a bang against the Bulls at Loftus Verveld last weekend. Unfortunately, they ran out of steam during the 2nd and 3rd quarter. A knock-on by the Stormers (29-34) kept them from scoring the winning. Juarno Augustus already crossed the Bulls try line when he lost control of the ball.

A battle royal in the frontrow is expected with the Lions arguably better off in the first 40-50 minutes. However, the Stormers first choice awaits the Lions early in the second half, if John Dobson is to be believed.

At the back, the Lions do have the better combinations. However, their defence that was sub-standard against the Sharks could be the difference between winning and losing. If the Stormers dominate up front late in the game Kade Wolhuter's boot will be ready to punish the Lions at every opportunity.

There are several changes to the DHL Stormers teamSeveral experienced players come into the mix for the encounter against the Lions.

Wings Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla make their return, while in midfield Ruhan Nel is partnered by Dan du Plessis.

There is also an all-new halfback pairing of Abner van Reenen and Herschel Jantjies, with the combination of Kade Wolhuter and Paul de Wet who impressed last week on the replacements bench.

Young Evan Roos gets a start at the back of the scrum and he is joined in the loose trio by openside flank Nama Xaba, who returns from injury.

Captain Salmaan Moerat will link up with JD Schickerling in the second row, with Marvin Orie set to make his first DHL Stormers appearance from the replacements bench.

Up front the combination of Ali Vermaak, Scarra Ntubeni and Neethling Fouché is back in the starting line-up, with Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe poised to make an impact from the replacements bench.

DHL Stormers coach Dawie Snyman said that the aim is to keep building as the experienced players are integrated into the team: “We have got some exciting players coming in this week and the key will be to build on what the rest of the squad have done over the last few weeks.

“It is great to be back at home at Cape Town Stadium and the whole squad is determined to make a big impression in our last preparation match,” added Snyman.

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen named a new-look team for their trip to Cape Town. 

Only five players retained their spots in the starting team from last week’s victory against the Cell C Sharks - Ruan Dreyer, Carlü Sadie (both props), Vincent Tshituka (flank), Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) and Wandisile Simelane (centre).

A notable change in the run-on team was the return of EW Viljoen at fullback, who has recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of action since February.

Viljoen will start in an exciting back three with Stean Pienaar and Rabz Maxwane, while Dan Kriel joins forces with Simelane in the midfield, and Andre Warner comes in at scrumhalf alongside Jantjies.

In the forward pack, there is a new lock pairing featuring Ruben Schoeman and Reinhard Nothnagel, while Sibusiso Sangweni (flank) and Francke Horn (No 8) join up with Tshituka in the loose trio, and PJ Botha gets a run at hooker.

Amongst the replacements, former Junior Springbok prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye will be hoping to make an impact after being drafted into the squad, while Fred Zeilinga (replacement flyhalf) gets the nod once again.

DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouché, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak. Replacements (from): 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Kade Wolhuter, 23 Lyle Hendricks, 24 Chad Solomon, 25 Cornel Smit.

Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Burger Odendaal.