URC – Emirates Lions Named Team For Connacht Clash


The Emirates Lions face up to Irish outfit Connacht in Round 12 of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship hoping to be the first South African franchise to get the better of the men from Galway this Saturday at 19:15 SA Time.

The Johannesburg side is on the charge for a play-off spot in the competition, and points on the weekend would build momentum in the coming weeks of what will be a demanding schedule.
The Marius Louw led side this week features a start for outside centre Erich Cronje, who replaces Henco van Wyk who is on the road to recovery after coming off against the Sharks in Round 11. Etienne Oosthuizen and Reinhard Nothnagel have been tasked to boss the lineouts, with Darrien Landsberg providing impact from the replacement bench.

Elsewhere, Stean Pienaar returns to the Match 23, with hooker Jaco Visagie in line for his 50th game in franchise colours.

Lions scrum guru Julian Redelinghuys provides insight into his team’s preparations since arriving in Galway this week and the challenge lying ahead against Connacht.

“We’ve had decent preparations this week in cold, wet weather which is great because we are expecting similar conditions come Saturday. It’s nothing new to us as we are familiar with the environment over here from previous visits.”

Describing the mood in the camp, the former Springbok prop says travelling has always been a good thing for his side as they tend to do it well.

“The vibe inside the camp is great. We tend to travel well, and the guys enjoy one another’s company. It’s also a nice opportunity to bond as a squad. Coming off a win against the Sharks two weeks ago also bodes well for team spirit,” he explains.

Looking ahead to Saturday at the Dexcom Stadium in Galway, Redelinghuys expects a tough battle against the Irish outfit- a team no South African side has gotten the better of in previous URC visits with the Emirates Lions hoping to be the first to upset that record.

“They are a very tough side to play over here, he says. They are a dangerous team when given front foot momentum, coupled with their fast tempo at which they play the game.”

“We have an opportunity however to challenge their set piece which is going to require our forwards to roll up their sleeves in very tough, hostile conditions over here in Galway. Our guys are up for it though- we enjoy it when it’s tough because that’s when we as a group play for one another,” he concludes.

Emirates Lions Match 23

1. JP Smith
2. PJ Botha
3. Asenathi Ntlabakanye
4. Etienne Oosthuizen
5. Reinhard Nothnagel
6. JC Pretorius
7. Emmanuel Tshituka
8. Francke Horn
9. Sanele Nohamba
10. Jordan Hendrikse
11. Edwill van der Merwe
12. Marius Louw (c)
13. Erich Cronje
14. Richard Kriel
15. Quan Horn

16. Jaco Visagie
17. Morgan Naude
18. Conraad van Vuuren
19. Darrien Landsberg
20. Izan Esterhuizen
21. Hanru Sirgel
22. Morne van den Berg
23. Stean Pienaar