The Lions head coach Johan Ackermann on Tuesday spread his net wide after naming his squad to take on the Bulls in a Super Rugby warm-up match in Harare on Saturday.
Ackermann named a 28-man squad consisting essentially of upcoming players as he decided to give his front-line players a break ahead of the next two warm-up matches against the Barbarians at Ellis Park on February 4 and against the Stormers on February 11 at Newlands.
Mostly junior and Under-21 players were named.
Some players who have made their mark at Currie Cup level in locks Bobby de Wee and JP du Preez, wing Koch Marx, prop Pieter Scholtz, flank Victor Sekekete, Kings prop signing Sthi Sithole, centre Gerdus van der Walt, the brother of Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, flyhalf Ashlon Davids and talented loose forward Jano Venter were named.
But the group has hardly experienced Super Rugby action before and is clearly earmarked to merely provide them a taste should the Lions need depth later on.
Injured players not considered are: wing Ruan Combrinck, prop Dylan Smith (both shoulders) and prop Julian Redelinghuys, who is out for the season with a neck injury, while flank Warwick Tecklenburg announced his retirement from the game earlier on Tuesday.
Ackermann also didn’t consider players who have just returned from Japan, including No 8 and captain Warren Whiteley, flank Jaco Kriel, lock Franco Mostert, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and centre Lionel Mapoe.
The Lions squad: Le Roux Baard, Ruan Brits, Jean-Luc Cilliers, Ashlon Davids, Bobby de Wee, Hacjivah Dyamani, JP du Preez, Dean Gordon, Wiehan Jacobs, Marco Janse van Vuren, Pieter Jansen, Kyle Kruger, Gerrie Labuschagne, Jan-Louis le Grange, Koch Marx, Siya Masuku, Stean Pienaar, Jarryd Sage, Pieter Scholtz, Victor Sekekete, Bheki Shongwe, Sti Sithole, Adre Smit, Wayne van der Bank, Morne van den Berg, Gerdus van der Walt, Jano Venter, Jaco Willemse.