Lions look to half-tonne Horn

Lions look to half-tonne Horn
Lions look to half-tonne Horn

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Francke Horn will play his 50th match for the Lions when they take on table-topping Leinster in a United Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The No 8, who made the position his own not long after joining the franchise in 2020, has been one of the standout players in another capricious season for the Lions.Horn, an intuitive support player and destructive runner, particularly in the wider channels, has provided much to the team’s attacking thrust. The Lions will look to him for momentum as they hope to re-enter the conversation for a place in the top eight of the competition. Horn showed pace and power aplenty when he beat three Leinster defenders down the left hand touchline in the corresponding fixture last year.

They will, however, want to forget how they relinquished a 15-point lead in the last quarter of that game as Leinster engineered a dramatic 39-36 win.

Better game management

The hosts will have to exercise better game management when they tackle the tournament’s top side.

On that score, they have loaded their bench, which also features a third scrumhalf in Nico Steyn.

They have named a side that features Sanele Nohamba at flyhalf with Jordan Hendrikse starting on the bench. His raking boot, the Lions hope, will hand them territorial ascendancy when the shadows lengthen at Ellis Park.

The hosts have heavyweights on their bench with star centre Henco van Wyk making a return from injury.

Up front they will also be emboldened by the return from suspension of tighthead prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye, though he is earmarked for a bench start.

Sibusiso Sangweni is also among the substitutes in the absence of Hanru Sirgel who has to observe concussion protocols.

Leinster always on a high

Leinster come off a stunning quarterfinal win over Stade Rochelais in the Champions Cup, though several of last weekend’s star performers have been spared the dust in Doornfontein.

Last year they got the job done with a team strewn with second stringers, but they are likely to face a more determined Lions team on Saturday. The Lions are hunting a place in the top eight and a win over the competition’s top dogs won’t just put them back in the mix, but will get their tails up.

Lions team to play Leinster — Quan Horn; Richard Kriel, Erich Cronje, Marius Louw (captain), Edwill van der Merwe; Sanele Nohamba, Morne van den Berg; Francke Horn, Emmanuel Tshituka, JC Pretorius; Ruan Delport, Willem Alberts; Ruan Dreyer, PJ Botha, Morgan Naude.

Substitutes: Jaco Visagie, JP Smith, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Sibusiso Sangweni; Nico Steyn, Jordan Hendrikse, Henco van Wyk.

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