JOHANNESBURG – The Lions were dealt a blow on Friday morning when it was revealed that lock Willem Alberts will not participate in Saturday’s second round SuperRugby Unlocked encounter against the Stormers (kick off 7pm).
Alberts, the union revealed, has been in close contact with a Covid-19 case, and will therefore go into quarantine. The former Springbok had tested negative for the virus during the week, so it seems that the move to drop Alberts from the matchday squad was a precautionary one.
Albert’s quarantine also means that he will no doubt also miss next weekend’s match against the Cheetahs and might only be considered for selection again in a fortnight against the Griquas.
Albert will be replaced by 24-year-old Ruben Schoeman, who will combine with Marvin Orie in the second row, in the starting XV.
Wilhelm van der Sluys and MJ Pelser will both remain on the bench for the clash. Schoeman was in the starting XV for Super Fan Saturday earlier this month, also against the Stormers, but Saturday’s clash against the Cape Town-based side at Newlands will be his first taste of competitive rugby this season.
It is the second enforced change to the Lions team, announced on Thursday, after coach Ivan van Rooyen was compelled to drop the injured Dillon Smit, replacing the scrumhalf with Morne van den Berg.
The admirable loss of Alberts, however, will do the Lions no favours this weekend as they face a Springbok and World Cup champion-laden Stormers pack, which includes Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitchoff, Bongi Mbonanmbi and inspirational captain Siya Kolisi.
15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Elton Jantjies (capt.), 9 Morné van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Ross Cronjé, 23 Gianni Lombard, 24 Wandisile Simelane, 15 Ruan Dreyer.