Nkosi, who will be assisted by former Springbok prop Wessel Roux while Ivan van Rooyen oversees matters as the union’s head coach, was also at the helm of the Lions Under-21s last year as they finished runners up in the national competition.

Reinhard Nothnagel (lock) will captain the side against the New Nation Pumas in Johannesburg on Friday night.

The squad named by Nkosi feature a number of experienced players mixed in with some of the Lions’ younger stars, with Tiaan Swanepoel moving to flyhalf from fullback, where he was one of their stars during the Carling Currie Cup.

Francke Horn, Roelof Smit and Marnus Schoeman form an exciting loose trio while the Lions have some speed to burn on the outside, in Manual Rass (outside centre), as well as Divan Rossouw and Prince Nkabinde (wings).

Kick-off is at 19h00 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Lions: 15 EW Viljoen; 14 Prince Nkabinde, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 James Mollentze, 11 Divan Rossouw; 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Morné van den Berg; 8 Francke Horn, 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel (captain), 4 Emmanuel Tshituka, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Nathan McBeth. Replacements (from): 16 Dameon Venter, 17 Banele Mthenjane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Luke Rossouw, 23 Ngia Selengbe, 24 Ruan Dreyer, 25 Izan Esterhuizen, 26 Sibusiso Sangweni.