Isuzu Southern Kings’ sturdy loose-forward, Andisa Ntsila, will start in the No 8 jersey for the side when they take on Welsh side, Cardiff Blues, in the last of three tour matches on Saturday night. The Guinness PRO14 Round 17 match will be played at Cardiff Arms Park, kicking off at 21h35 (SA-time).
Following the concussion to Ruaan Lerm, who had started the previous two matches, in last week’s match against defending champions, Leinster Rugby, the 25-year-old Ntsila will earn his eighth starting berth of the 2018/19 season.
Team doctor, Gershwin Kortje, confirmed Lerm’s unavailability for the match while confirming that lock, Stephan Greeff – who had also left the field against Leinster with a concussion – was fit for his selection on the bench.
“Ruaan Lerm did not complete the Gradual Return to Play (GRTP) protocol, and was deemed unfit, due to the concussion, for selection for this weekend’s game. Stephan Greeff passed his concussion tests and successfully completed his GRTP protocol,” Dr Kortje confirmed.
Ntsila will partner with the hard-tackling duo of Henry “Bakkies” Brown and Martinus “Tienie” Burger in the backrow.
Captain, JC Astle, who was originally selected on the bench last week but came on early following Greeff’s concussion, will also return to lead the side alongside Dries van Schalkwyk in the second row.
Centre Tertius Kruger also makes a return to the starting XV, in the only backline change that sees Berton Klaasen starting on the bench this week. Kruger will form a familiar midfield pairing with Meli Rokoua.
“We unfortunately lost Ruaan Lerm this week as a result of a concussion, but we are fortunate to have a player of Andisa Ntsila’s calibre to call on as a replacement,” Head Coach, Deon Davids, said as he explained the changes.
“We have also brought in Tertius Kruger this week in a rotational change with Berton Klaasen. Both players have made good contributions this season in their roles, whether starting or coming off the bench. We expect the same intensity, and more, from both of them this week as well.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings have not yet claimed an away win this season, and would like nothing more than to end off the three-week tour of Ireland and Wales than with a victory over their Welsh opponents on Saturday night.
With the Cardiff Blues having their tails up after a confidence-boosting 17-19 win over Edinburgh away from home last week, the Isuzu Southern Kings are aware of the tough battle that awaits them this week.
“We have had a tough two matches so far on the tour, and this week against a Cardiff Blues side that is on the back of a good win over Edinburgh will be an equally tough contest,” said Davids.
“They are a quality side that is well-coached. It is no fluke that they sit third on the Conference A log. We have worked very hard this week to counter whatever they may have up their sleeve this weekend. We are hoping to end this tour on a positive note.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings team to face Cardiff Blues (Shirt no. Player – surname then first name, Guinness PRO14 caps in brackets) is:
15 Beyers Ulrich (20)
14 Penxe Yaw (34)
13 Rokoua Meli (7)
12 Kruger Tertius (12)
11 Basson Bjorn (12)
10 Pretorius Bader (4)
9 Pretorius Sarel (58)
1 Tshakweni Alulutho (7)
2 Willemse Michael (25)
3 De-Jay Terblanche (3)
4 Van Schalkwyk Andries (97)
5 Astle John-Charles (C) (16)
6 Brown Henry (6)
7 Burger Martinus (26)
8 Ntsila Andisa (29)
16 Van Rooyen Alandre (18)
17 Ferreira Schalk (32)
18 Mguca Lupumlo (8)
19 Greeff Stephan (28)
20 De Wit Stephan (5)
21 Van Rooyen Rudi (19)
22 Klaasen Berton (34)
23 Banda Masixole (31)