After two Currie Cup defeats running, the Golden Lions cannot afford to leave Kimberley empty-handed when they clash with top of the table Griquas on Saturday.

Defeat‚ especially if it happens without a bonus point‚ could leave the third-placed Lions vulnerable to the advances of the Sharks‚ who play the Blue Bulls in Pretoria; and Western Province‚ who are set to face the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Their misadventures at home against the Blue Bulls and the Sharks in recent weeks have the Lions on the back foot ahead of their match against the side that has lost just once this season.

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The Lions boarded a bus headed for Kimberley on Thursday having made a few changes to their playing ranks.

Duncan Matthews will start his first match for his new province from inside centre‚ while the pack will be emboldened by the presence of lock Marvin Orie and flank Cyle Brink.

Orie has spent time in the Springbok setup while Brink has been absent with a hand injury for the bulk of the campaign.

Jamba Ulengo‚ who signed a two-year deal with the Lions‚ is on the bench and might get his first opportunity to show his wares in the Lions jersey.

The Lions pack a punch among their tight forwards on the bench with Jan-Henning Campher‚ Dylan Smith and Johannes Jonker all set to be seated at the start.

Golden Lions team: Tyrone Green; Madosh Tambwe‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Duncan Matthews‚ Stean Pienaar; Shaun Reynolds‚ Ross Cronjé (captain); Hacjivah Dayimani‚ Cyle Brink‚ Marnus Schoeman; Marvin Orie‚ Ruben Schoeman; Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Pieter Jansen‚ Sti Sithole. Replacements: Jan-Henning Campher‚ Dylan Smith‚ Johannes Jonker‚ Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ Len Massyn; Dillon Smit‚ Jan-Louis la Grange‚ Jamba Ulengo.