Willem Alberts returns as Lions name side to face Stade Francais

Willem Alberts returns as Lions name side to face Stade Francais

The Lions will welcome back Springbok veteran Willem Alberts for Friday's Challenge Cup encounter against Stade Francais Paris at Ellis Park.

Alberts will line up against the same team he spent five seasons with in Paris.

He will pack down alongside Pieter Jansen van Vuren in the second row, who coincidentally also had a stint with Stade Francais.

"We are fortunate to have both Willem and Andre who have played for Stade Francais. Their input has been valuable during the week so we look forward to capitalising on that intel," said Lions backline and attack coach, Ricardo Loubscher.

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year nominee for 2022 Henco van Wyk is also back after serving a suspension, while Quan Horn slots into the left wing position.

The Lions and Stade Francais will clash for the first time ever.

"If you look at the Top 14 league, Stade Francias are well in the top four of the log, so we expect a very good side coming here on Friday night," said Loubscher.

"Their kicking game is one designed to put teams under pressure, forcing one to make mistakes, so we'll be prepared for that from a discipline point of view.

"Furthermore, they have a brilliant attacking game, good runners and a ten who is an outstanding goal-kicker coupled with a big boot. In saying that, we expect an exciting game from a team who can counter-attack from anywhere.

"Our preparations have been good this week, with most of it in wet weather as we expect similar conditions on Friday."

Kick-off is at 19:30.

Lions - 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Quan Horn, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Emmanuel Tshituka, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 JP Smith

Substitutes: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Darrien Landsberg, 21 Sibusiso Sangweni, 22 Andre Warner, 23 Rynhardt Jonker