The Lions will have the steely resolve of Springbok Ruan Combrinck back on the rightwing when they clash with the Stormers on Saturday.
He has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since 2017’s Rugby Championship but he returns at a time when the Lions are desperate to restore some calm in their ranks.
"I’m very excited about Ruan‚" said coach Swys de Bruin. "He’s been out for a long time and we had a chance to pick him earlier.
"Knowing him‚ because he is a professional athlete‚ we opted to wait until he is 100% right in his head as well. Combrinck has trained hard. He’s got a brilliant right foot. We’ve got a number of left-footers. He’s very experienced and brings a calmness. His versatility is the biggest dimension he brings. He can also slot those long ones."
The Lions have lacked composure and leadership in recent weeks‚ which saw them slip to three Super Rugby defeats in four matches.
Combrinck’s cool‚ calculated and at times explosive qualities will be manna for a team still missing the star quality of captain Warren Whiteley‚ Jaco Kriel‚ Ross Cronjé‚ Courtnall Skosan and Aphiwe Dyantyi.
De Bruin said Whiteley will tour with the team following their clash with the Stormers.
"I was really hoping Warren would be ready this week. Hacjivah [Dayimani] did so well at No8. He’s one for the future."
Rohan Janse van Rensburg has an upper leg haematoma and will also miss this weekend’s action.
De Bruin said Skosan has responded well to treatment and should be ready for selection once the Lions return from their tour of Australasia.
In a rotational switch to the team that lost to the Crusaders‚ Marvin Orie comes in for Andries Ferreira at lock for Saturday’s clash.
Scrumhalf Cronjé’s expected return has been pushed back as he is yet to recover from knee and rib ailments.
"I was hoping Ross would be back. He said the rib is even more sore than the knee now. He’s been putting his body on the line. He will be out for a while still."
The Lions have, however, arranged cover in the form of Nic Groom, who joined them this week from Northampton.
"I’m really excited about the experience he brings‚" enthused De Bruin. "He reminds me of a Craig Davidson‚ that nuggety‚ tough‚ cool-head guy that never gives in. I asked him why he joined us and he said it’s because of the ethos and the character of the team."
Lions team: Andries Coetzee; Ruan Combrinck‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Harold Vorster‚ Madosh Tambwe; Elton Jantjies‚ Dillon Smit; Hacjivah Dayimani‚ Cyle Brink‚ Kwagga Smith; Franco Mostert‚ Marvin Orie; Ruan Dreyer‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Dylan Smith. Replacements: Corné Fourie‚ Jacques van Rooyen‚ Johannes Jonker‚ Lourens Erasmus‚ Marnus Schoeman; Marco Jansen van Vuren‚ Howard Mnisi‚ Sylvian Mahuza