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.

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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