Emirates Lions Name Team To Face Montpellier


It’s one vs two in Round 3 of the EPCR Challenge Cup this Saturday night as the Emirates Lions take on Pool 2 leaders Montpellier.

Having kick-started off 2024 with a famous victory in Durban last weekend in URC, the men from Johannesburg will look to continue their winning run in France against a Montpellier side, while struggling in their domestic competition, have shown impressive form in the European competition.

Speaking earlier in the week, Emirates Lions’ forwards and lineout guru Barend Pieterse acknowledged the challenge his team will face on Saturday evening against in what he terms ‘a really good’ Montpellier squad, who’s Top 14 performances are a far cry from their table-topping position in Pool 2 of the Challenge Cup.

“It’s obviously going to be a quite on Saturday night. If you look at their squad, it’s a really good squad,” expressed Pieterse.

“Ours is to stick to what’s been working for us in the past weeks across the competitions we have been involved in. They have big forwards, so our main challenge will be upfront especially looking at the type of players they have. We expect a strong squad as they are in a strong position in this competition. We believe up front will be a massive challenge size-wise and the experience they have they have in their squad.”

Pieterse on the Emirates Lions squad:

“The squad is in a good place at the moment. There are one or two guys who have not had many opportunities, so it’s nice to see them get a run. Furthermore, it helps us create depth within the squad. We are lucky enough to be in a position to give players the opportunity, but the main reason is to test our depth.”

In team news, the Jaco Visagie-led match 23 sees prop forward Conrad van Vuuren gets his first start of the season ever since joining the franchise at the beginning of the season. Saturday also sees the return of Stean Pienaar who runs out in the number 14 jumper.

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