Emile van Heerden, the son of former Springbok Fritz van Heerden, will make his Lions debut at blindside flank in their URC match against Munster.
On Friday, the Lions will face Munster at Musgrave Park in Cork, as the men from Johannesburg try to halt their two-game losing streak in the URC.
Van Heerden, whose father Fritz played for the Springboks and Western Province, will wear the Lions’ No. 7 shirt ahead of Ruan Venter, who has been shifted to the second row, where he will partner Darrien Landsberg.
The Lions have included scrumhalf Morne van den Berg and wing Stean Pienaar in their starting lineup, in place of Sanele Nohamba and Rabz Maxwane, respectively.
Michael van Vuuren, a hooker, is given an opportunity to play from the bench, which also includes the experienced combination Willem Alberts and Andre Warner.
“Friday against Munster on tour will be a good test for our lads,” said Lions scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys.
“The Munster pack has been in fantastic form as of late, so Friday will be an interesting challenge for this team, particularly the guys who will be getting a chance to play.
“We all know you don’t grow when it’s easy, you grow when it’s difficult,” the Lions assistant coach said. “Friday will be difficult, especially in these conditions away from home.”
“Playing at Musgrave Park will be a new experience for us, as none of our current roster members have previously competed there. That being said, we have a propensity to thrive in the unfamiliar and uncharted, so this will undoubtedly be one of those.”
Additionally, Bulls head coach Jake White had a health concern.
LIONS ASSEMBLE FOR THE URC MATCH AGAINST MUNSTER:
Lions — 15 Quan Horn, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Emmanuel Tshituka, 7 Emile van Heerden, 6 Jarod Cairns, 5 Darrien Landsberg, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith.
Subs: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Morgan Naudé, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Gianni Lombard, 23 Manuel Rass.