Challenge Cup – Emirates Lions Named Line-up To Face Benetton


The Jaco Visagie led Emirates Lions are in action this Saturday in Treviso against Italian outfit Benetton in a Round of 16 clash of the EPCR Challenge Cup. Kick-off at the Stadio Monigo is at 18:30 (SA time).

Saturday’s match 23 sees a few changes in personnel from the side that ran out against Ospreys last weekend, capitalizing on the depth at the disposal of head coach Ivan van Rooyen. Victory in Treviso will see the team from Johannesburg face either Connacht or Pau, with victory against the former still fresh in their minds.

The Emirates Lions will rely on veteran Willem Alberts in the second row to provide the necessary experience alongside Darrien Landsberg, while Andries ‘Boeboes’ Coetzee is tasked bring calmness to the back three which features the return of prolific try-scorer Rabz Maxwane and powerful winger Stean Pienaar.

A positional switch sees Richard Kriel slot into the outside centre role, with Zander du Plessis getting his opportunity in the 12 jumper.

Scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys is under no illusions of what Benetton will bring to this knockout fixture, a side bursting at the seams with Italian internationals, fresh from a successful Six Nations campaign.

“They are a team with a lot of Italian internationals coming from, in their eyes, a really successful Six Nations so they’ll be full of confidence coming into this game. I’m sure they’ll also take confidence from their last-minute win against Connacht last weekend in the URC.”

“This weekend’s game is knockout rugby, and it requires a different strategy. You don’t need to earn bonus points, you just have to win – even if it’s like the Springboks [with last year’s World Cup] with just one point,”

“Right now, our big goal is to be consistent in our performances. We have already delivered very good performances this season, but also played poorly a few times and let ourselves down,” he concluded.

The new-look 23 boasts an impressive reserves bench, with the likes of Ruan Dreyer, Izan Esterhuizen, Francke Horn and Erich Cronje, all ready to make an impact if called upon.

Emirates Lions:

1. Morgan Naude
2. Jaco Visagie (c)
3. Conraad van Vuuren
4. Willem Alberts
5. Darrien Landsberg
6. JC Pretorius
7. Emmanuel Tshituka
8. Hanru Sirgel
9. Morne van den Berg
10. Jordan Hendrikse
11. Rabz Maxwane
12. Zander du Plessis
13. Richard Kriel
14. Stean Pienaar
15. Andries Coetzee

16. Morne Brandon
17. Ruan Dreyer
18. Ruan Smith
19. Ruan Delport
20. Izan Esterhuizen
21. Francke Horn
22. Nico Steyn
23. Erich Cronje