The side begins their tour with a clash against Conference A log leaders, Munster, this Friday at the Irish Independent Park in Cork. Kick-off for this match will be at 21h35 (SA-time).
The team will welcome back prop, Pieter Scholtz, who has finished serving a three-match ban following an incident where he made contact with the eye area of an opponent in a match against the Toyota Cheetahs in the first of three South African derbies in January.
However, the Isuzu Southern Kings will travel without flanker CJ Velleman, who has also been handed a three-match suspension for a red card he received last week in the side’s match against the Cheetahs early this month.
Velleman has been found to have contravened Law 9.11 (Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others) when he made contact with his elbow on Cheetahs flanker, Junior Pokomela’s head while the player was diving to score a try.
The suspension is effective from February 12 until March 3, and thereby rules Velleman completely out of involvement in the three-week tour which will also include a match against Conference B leaders, Leinster, on February 22 at the RDS Arena in Dublin and against Cardiff at the Cardiff Arms Park on March 2.
“We have had a good week of preparation leading up to our departure on Monday evening for this tour of Ireland and Wales,” Head Coach Deon Davids said.
“It is set to be a tough tour against Munster, a side that leads Conference A, then we face the defending Guinness PRO14 champions before ending off against another classy side like Cardiff. We have shown some gradual progress over the weeks, and we hope to continue on that upward curve, but most importantly we are still hungry to clinch a win or two on tour.”
Davids has selected a 27-man touring squad for the three matches which includes 16 forwards and 11 backline players. The team will leave Port Elizabeth on Monday night.
FORWARDS: Schalk Ferreira, Alulutho Tshakweni, Pieter Scholtz, De-Jay Terblanche, Lupumlo Mguca, Michael Willemse, Alandre van Rooyen, Tango Balekile, Stephan Greeff, John-Charles Astle (c), Andries van Schalkwyk, Martinus Burger, Andisa Ntsila, Henry Brown, Stephan de Wit, Ruaan Lerm.
BACKS: Stefan Ungerer, Sarel Pretorius, Rudi van Rooyen, Bader Pretorius, Berton Klaasen, Tertius Kruger, Meli Rokoua, Bjorn Basson, Yaw Penxe, Masixole Banda, Ulrich Beyers