Springbok World Cup prop CJ van der Linde on Wednesday passed a fitness test and will be on the bench for the MTN Lions against the Bulls in the Vodacom Super Rugby match at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
Van der Linde was injured in the Lions’ second match of the season against the Hurricanes on March 2. He was bracketed on the bench with Jacobie Adriaanse when the team was announced on Wednesday morning but cleared of his injury at a subsequent training session
Van der Linde’s inclusion, even on the bench, brings experience to a young squad that has been plagued by injuries this season.
Coach John Mitchell motivated the experienced prop’s inclusion as follows: “It is actually that CJ covers loosehead and tighthead, and that is something we haven’t had. Our next area of cover is Ruan Dreyer and he is obviously younger. We always run the risk if we only carry a tighthead because it means we would have to move Pat (Cilliers) across.
“Unfortunately for CJ he is not super match fit, so it is also a case of building him into rugby. So, if someone gets injured early it will be a risk if we bring CJ back.”
The finalised Lions team is:
Andries Coetzee, Deon van Rensburg, Jaco Taute, Alwyn Hollenbach, James Kamana, Elton Jantjies, Tian Meyer, Joshua Strauss (capt.), Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Stephan Greeff, Patric Cilliers, Callie Visagie, Caylib Oosthuizen. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, CJ van der Linde, Marius Coetzer, Doppies le Roux, Ross Cronje, Butch James, Lionel Mapoe.