2018 Super Rugby Squads: Lions
The Lions will need to dig deep in 2018 if they want to continue their successful run of the last two years. They have lost their iconic coach, Johan Ackermann to Gloucester, and one of his assistants, JP Ferreira has gone to Munster.
Four of their senior players have gone too. Ruan Ackermann followed his Dad to England and Gloucester, Faf de Klerk is playing some superb rugby at Sale, Akker van der Merwe went off to the Sharks when he realised that Malcolm Marx was always going to be the first-choice hooker, with Robbie Coetzee as second choice, Akker was feeling more than a little threatened at the Lions.
Julian Redelinghuys has confirmed what everyone suspected, that neck injury was the end of his career, although he continues in rugby as a coach.
Some of the fringe players have gone too, Jacques Nel and Anthony Volmink to the Kings, Jaco van der Walt is in Edinburgh, Hencus van Wyk is in Japan.
Just two new signings supplement the squad, with Christiaan Meyer signing from Griquas, and Khwezi Mona in from the Pumas.
New additions to the Lions’ ranks for this competition are Jacobie Adriaanse, Ashlon Davids, Aphiwe Dyanti, Willie Engelbrecht, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Len Massyn, Christiaan Meyer and Marnus Schoeman.
There is a fairly stable squad of stalwarts remaining in the Lions camp, although they might be a bit light in the halfbacks. The loss of Faf de Klerk puts extra pressure on Ross Cronje as he only has Dillon Smit and a youngster in Marco Jansen van Vuren as back-up in the 9 jersey.
At flyhalf Elton Jantjies will have to be supplemented by Andries Coetzee and Shaun Reynolds while the Lions nurture young Ashlon Davids.
However, it is the change of coaches that leaves us wondering. Swys Joubert has long been in the ample shadow of Ackermann, and this might well be his opportunity to shone. Whilst he has been the quiet man, his coaching quality should not be underestimated.
The 2018 Lions Super Squad
Jacobie Adriaanse, Cyle Brink, Robbie Coetzee, Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronjé, Ashlon Davids, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruan Dreyer, Aphiwe Dyanti, Willie Engelbrecht, Lourens Erasmus, Andries Ferreira, Corne Fourie, Rhyno Herbst, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Elton Jantjies, Johannes Jonker, Jaco Kriel, Robert Kruger, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Malcolm Marx, Len Massyn, Christiaan Meyer, Howard Mnisi, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Shaun Reynolds, Marnus Schoeman, Sti Sithole, Courtnall Skosan, Dillon Smith, Kwagga Smith, Dylan Smith, Madosh Tambwe, Jacques van Rooyen, Harold Vorster, Warren Whiteley (c).
Christiaan Meyer (Griquas)
Khwezi Mona (Pumas)
Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester)
Fabian Booysen (released)
Faf de Klerk (Sale)
Jaques Nel (Kings)
Akker van der Merwe (Sharks)
Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)
Hencus van Wyk (Munakata Sanix Blues)