Boshoff loses out as Lions head to Japan

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Boshoff, while picked in the final 37-man Super Rugby squad for the season, has lost his place in the tour party to young Jaco van der Walt, who is equally comfortable at fullback as he is at flyhalf.

Boshoff experienced a horror outing against the Jaguares in the Lions’ final pre-season warm-up match at Wits on Friday night and has now paid the price. When Van der Walt replaced him, the Lions’ backs looked far more threatening and his option-taking was also better than that of Boshoff’s. The other notable absentee in the tour squad is lock Lourens Erasmus.

The second row options available to coach Johan Ackermann are Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira and Fabian Booysen. Robert Kruger, like Booysen, can play lock and flank.

But if Boshoff was the big loser from the Jaguares match, the winner was Ruan Ackermann, the 20-year-old son of the coach. A powerful loose-forward, Ackermann is comfortable at No 8, at blindside flank and even in the second row.

There are no other major surprises in the squad, with coach Ackermann opting for plenty of versatility. Several backline players can play in more than one position, with former Pukke Varsity Cup star Dillon Smit getting the nod as back-up to Faf de Klerk as the scrumhalves. Ross Cronje won’t tour because of a facial injury.

Up front, Warren Whiteley will captain the side from eighthman and his loose-forward partners are likely tobe Jaco Kriel and Warwick

Tecklenburg. In the front row there are also several options available to Ackermann, with Julian Redelinghuys, Jacques van Rooyen, Corne Fourie, Ruan Dreyer and rookie Dylan Smith looking to crack the starting team.

The Lions face the Sunwolves of Japan in their debut match in Tokyo on Saturday - where conditions are likely to be clear, but temperatures reaching no more than about 8°C - before heading to New Zealand. The team leave in two groups from OR Tambo on Tuesday afternoon.

Tour Squad:

Backs: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Courtnal Skosan, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Harold Vorster, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jaco van der Walt, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Dillon Smit

Forwards: Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Robert Kruger, Ruan Ackermann, Fabian Booysen, Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira, Julian Redelinghuys, Dylan Smith, Jacques van Rooyen, Ruan Dreyer, Corne Fourie, Armand van der Merwe, Malcolm Marx, Robbie Coetzee

Additional squad members: Marnitz Boshoff, Ross Cronje,Stephan de Wit, Lourens Erasmus, Stokkies Hanekom, Ruaan Lerm, MB Lusaseni, Sampie Mastriet, Martin Muller, Anthony Volmink

The Star

Original source: Boshoff loses out as Lions head to Japan

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