Lions Challenge Cup in Paris Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts starts for the Lions in the Challenge Cup in Paris. Photo: SA Rugby.

Springbok earns first start of season for Lions

The Lions have altered their team lineup to accommodate the return of a Springbok in the starting lineup for Friday’s URC game against Ulster.

Lions Challenge Cup in Paris Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts starts for the Lions in the Challenge Cup in Paris. Photo: SA Rugby.

The Lions face Irish outfit Ulster for their final tour match in Round 5 of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and they’ve brought in a Springbok to the showdown.

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Kick-off is at 21:35 (SA time) on Friday evening at Kingspan Stadium.

Friday sees Springbok Willem The Bone Collector’ Alberts enjoy his first start of the season alongside Ruben Schoeman who runs out for his 50th international match in Lions colours.

Popular tighthead prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye replaces Ruan Dreyer who suffered a fractured wrist and was unavailable for selection.

Elsewhere, speedster Rabz Maxwane joins Jordan Hendrikse and the Smith brothers as impact players.

Fresh from their vital win against Scarlets last week in Wales, the team from Johannesburg will be aiming to end their tour on a high against an Ulster side brimming with confidence after victory over their local rivals and defending champions Munster.

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LIONS LOOKING TO BUILD ON WINNING MOMENTUM

Looking ahead to Friday, Lions assistant coach Barend Pieterse believes that composure is key when his side are in favourable point- scoring positions, especially against a side like Ulster.

“The big thing that we spoke about during the past four weeks is more calmness when we get into the scoring zone. Our work rate in general wasn’t what we wanted in the opening game, but if you look at the last game, every individual worked very hard, and it just came together for us,” Pieterse said.

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“We need to make sure our basics is good. The guys know the environment that we are going into is harsh. The weather outside is cold, it’s raining, and the stadium will be sold out again, but everyone is ready for what we expect, and we just have to keep our basics simple. It doesn’t help against a classy team like Ulster if we start doing funny things like play from own try-line.”

Kick-off at Kingspan is at 21:35 (SA time).

SPRINGBOK HEAVY-WEIGHT POWERS LIONS TEAM

Lions — 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Hanru Sirgel, 5 Willem Alberts, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Corne Fourie.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Ruan Delport, 20 Ruan Venter, 21 JC Pretorius, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Rabz Maxwane.

Springbok and Lions loose forward Willem Alberts
The Lions in action against the Sharks. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix