Emirates Lions Banking On The Strength Of Their Squad Against USAP


Emirates Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen will be banking on the strength of the squad at his disposal as the South African side takes on USAP in their EPCR Challenge Cup Pool 2 opener in Perpignan on Sunday.

With Emirates Lions placed ninth in the United Rugby Championship (URC) following three wins from seven games, Van Rooyen wants his team to be competitive in both tournaments after they reached the quarter-finals of the EPCR Challenge Cup last season on their competition debut.

Van Rooyen said: “Rotation was always part of the plan for this trip to France. We have the opportunity to tap into the squad we currently have for the next two weeks of EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures both away and home.
“To get the performance we want and to potentially win both games (USAP and Newcastle Falcons), we will rely on the players at our disposal, as we have huge confidence in using the broader squad. We’ve prepared and trained accordingly for the past 2-3 weeks, so we’ll be ready to go.”

They have a league-low tackle success rate of 74.2% in the URC this term, but that shouldn’t matter against a USAP side who have won only twice in the TOP 14 and are second from the bottom of the standings.

USAP: 15. Jean-Pascal Barraque, 14. Lucas Dubois, 13. Afusipa Taumoepeau, 12. Freddy Duguivalu, 11. Louis Dupichot, 10. Alexandre Perez, 9. Matteo Rodor, 8. Ewan Bertheau, 7. Alan Brazo, 6. Jaco van Tonder, 5. Shahn Eru, 4. Tristan Labouteley, 3. Nemo Roelofse, 2. Victor Montgaillard, 1. Sacha Lotrian. Replacements: 16. Vakhtang Jincharadze, 17. Xavier Chiocci, 18. Akato Fakatika, 19. Lucas Bachelier, 20. Valentin Moro, 21. Tom Ecochard, 22. Eddie Sawailau, 23. Boris Goutard.

Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Zander du Plessis, 11 Bodwin Hansen, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Hanru Sirgel, 7 Ruhan Straeuli, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Raynard Roets, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Jaco Visagie (c), 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Izan Esterhuizen, 20 Travis Gordon, 21 Johan Mulder, 22 Gianni Lombard, 23 Rynhardt Jonker/Sibusiso Sangweni