Durban - Asenathi Ntlabakanye will captain a youthful and highly talented Lions team against Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday in the opening round of the Currie Cup.
The talented tighthead prop leads an exciting team that boasts no less than ten Junior Boks in the match 23.
Reacting to being handed the captain's armband, Ntlabakanye said Saturday will be a huge occasion for him.
“It’s a massive honour and privilege for me to be called upon to lead this group,” the 22-year-old said.
“To be captain at a franchise that I've played for since I was Under-16 is a huge thing for me. I'm also lucky enough to have strong leaders around me who I can lean on during the game."
‘Asa’, as he is known, also boasts United Rugby Championship experience and he believes his side will more than be up for Saturday’s clash.
“The focus this week has been about what we can bring to the table as a squad,” Ntlabakanye explained.
“Western Province away has never been an easy fixture. We know they have a strong set-piece and can be dangerous in open play but we'll be ready for that.”
Head coach Mziwakhe Nkosi added: “I’m quite excited for this group of young men. It's an opportunity for them to express themselves against the best the Currie Cup has to offer."
“We are quite pleased with the side we've selected for Saturday. Most of them tasted success in last year's Under-20 domestic competition, so as a management group we back them to showcase their talent,” Nkosi concluded.
Lions team: 15. Quan Horn 14. Boldwin Hansen 13. James Mollentze 12. Aidynn Cupido 11. Zeilinga Strydom 10. Vaughen Isaacs 9. Jurich Claasens 8. Emmanuel Tshituka 7. Jarod Cairns 6. Mark Snyman 5. Simon Dionisio 4. PJ Steenkamp 3. Asenathi Ntlabakanye (c) 2. Dameon Venter 1. Banele Mthenjane
Substitutes: 16. Darnell Osuagwu 17. Heiko Pohlmann 18. Sibusiso Shongwe 19. Ruan Venter 20. Lunga Ncube 21. MJ Pelser 22. Nico Steyn 23. Tyler Bocks
Kickoff: 17:00 on Saturday.