Lions confirm Challenge squad

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) has confirmed the 35-man Lions squad that will participate in the Lions Challenge series.

Click to enter the Sport24 SuperBru Super Rugby challenge!

Several new recruits will get their chance to shine when the Lions kick off their season with a home game against Russia.

The Johannesburg side, axed from Super Rugby at the expense of the Southern Kings, will kick-start the new Lions Challenge series at Ellis Park against te touring Russians on Saturday.

The GLRU organised matches against international teams like the Russians and Samoa, a three-week tour of North America, five games against top French opposition, and fixtures against all five South African Super Rugby teams.

The series of games ends on July 20, with Lions supporters having 12 matches, including a Super Rugby promotion/relegation game on August 3, to look forward to at Ellis Park.

Lions squad:

Gavin Annandale
Martin Bezuidenhout
Michael Bondesio
Marnitz Boshoff
JJ Breet
Willie Britz
Andries Coetzee
Robbie Coetzee
Ruan Combrinck
Guy Cronje
Lionel Cronje
Ross Cronje
Dylan des Fountain
Ruan Dreyer
Swys du Toit
Stokkies Hanekom
Deon Helberg
Alwyn Hollenbach
JC Janse van Rensburg
Hugo Kloppers
Jacques Kotze
Jaco Kriel
Derick Minnie
Franco Mostert
Jacques Nel
Ruhan Nel
Hendrik Roodt
Warwick Tecklenburg
Claude Tshibidi
CJ van der Linde
Deon van Rensburg
Jacques van Rooyen
Anthony Volmink
Harold Vorster
Warren Whiteley

Lions fixture list for 2013 (which includes Lions Challenge matches and excludes Currie Cup games):

January 19: Lions v Russia - Ellis Park
January 23: Lions v Cheetahs - Ellis Park
February 2: Lions v Bulls - Orlando Stadium, Soweto
February 9: Lions v Kings - Ellis Park
February 23: Namibia v Lions - Windhoek
March 16: Lions v Mont de Marsan - Ellis Park
April 13: US Invitational v Lions - Ervine, California
April 20: US Invitational v Lions - Vancouver, Canada
April 27: Chicago Lions v Lions - Chicago
May 11: Lions v Agen - Ellis Park
June 1: Lions v Samoa - Ellis Park
June 8: Lions v French Barbarians - Ellis Park
June 15: Lions v Stormers - Ellis Park
June 21: Lions v Sharks - Ellis Park
July 12: Lions v Montpellier - Ellis Park
July 20: Lions v Grenoble - Ellis Park
July 27: Super Rugby promotion/relegation first leg -  TBA
August 3: Super Rugby promotion/relegation - Ellis Park
- Sport24
Mandy Casey 2013-01-15 01:33:35 PM
Great that they have organized all these games. Hope that the games are well attended.
Marcus Vermaak 2013-01-15 01:59:46 PM
Awesome! Well done lions! Oh and GO LIONS GO! (I think with this Kings saga, the Lions have won some support.)
Hanjo 2013-01-15 02:08:11 PM
Good to see Benoni Boytjie, Gavin Annandale in the squad.
Nico Pretorius 2013-01-15 02:29:29 PM
Great balance between young and experienced players. This will also be a good year for Johan Ackerman to improve his coaching skills (not that he need that much!!). With John Mitchell in the background assisting Johan and different opposition with different ways of playing he will improve a LOT this year!! CC finals here we come!! GO LIONS!!
Robert Peter Gemmell 2013-01-15 02:31:37 PM
Have to be honest I will be supporting the other franchises in the Super Rugby format except the Kings. my loyalty lies with the Lions so if they are playing during a super rugby game don't visit me if you want to watch the super rugby cause i will be watching the Lions play. If you want to watch the Kings play at my house please take note a ask a few of R 1 million to get into my house but don't expect me to be there to open the door. GO LIONS
Louis Bensch 2013-01-15 02:45:09 PM
Can't wait!!!! Go Lions, looking forward to the 9th of February.
Lois Lloyd 2013-01-15 02:45:36 PM
The Broederbond Brigade.
Nick Gates 2013-01-15 02:47:51 PM
Just one observation, not trying to create a S#&T storm, but which are these are players of colour? The only one I can see/identify is Tshibidi. Just interesting to see.
Morne van Dyk 2013-01-15 02:58:10 PM
Only one black player in the group. They will never be allowed back in S15 with that group.
Wesley Botha 2013-01-15 04:00:12 PM
LMGA as hul die kings en n paar ander groot name in die S15 opwarm wedstryde wen