Lions unchanged for United Rugby Championship clash against Scarlets
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JOHANNESBURG - Emirates Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has named an unchanged side to face Scarlets on Friday night in the United Rugby Championship (kick-off 8.35pm).
The selection shows a measure of confidence in the same matchday 23 that managed to beat Italian-based outfit Zebre 38-26 in their opening match, and that continuity will certainly leave the Lions in good stead as they prepare to face the Welsh franchise.
It is the first time in several games that Van Rooyen has had such a luxury. The Lions were excellent in the first half against Zebre, storming to an unassailable 35-0 lead before sustained pressure, and a high intensity second stanza by the XV of the North nearly undid all their good work.
The Joburgers can il-afford a similar performance on Friday against a wounded Scarlets side that lost their opening match 26-22 against Edinburgh last weekend, and who will front-up physically from the first whistle to the last.
"We appreciate that Scarlets will pose a different challenge for us, but we are confident the players selected will once more aim for a positive result tomorrow," said Van Rooyen in a statement released by the union.
"The team has prepared well in the lead-up to (on Friday), with a few productive planning sessions on and off the training field. Last week we spoke about momentum and that's what we would like to maintain from here onwards."
Emirates Lions starting XV: EW Viljoen; Jamba Ulengo, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal (capt), Rabz Maxwane; Jordan Hendrikse, Andre Warner; Francke Horn, Vincent Tshituka, Jaco Kriel; Pieter Jansen Van Vuren, Ruben Schoeman; Carlu Sadie, Jaco Visagie, Ruan Dreyer;
Replacements: PJ Botha, Sti Sithole, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Morne van den Berg, Eddie Fouche, Divan Rossouw