Southern Kings coach, Deon Davids, has named a strong side to take on the Jaguares in a Vodacom Super Rugby encounter in Buenos Aires at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani on Saturday morning (01h05 kick-off SA-time).
The head coach has stressed the importance of consistency and has opted not to make any surprise inclusions to his side that showed good form in previous matches leading up to their last Vodacom Super Rugby outing, against the Emirates Lions, before the June break.
In the build-up to the last match against the Emirates Lions, the Southern Kings were dealt a blow with a number of injuries which included captain Lionel Cronje and No8 Andisa Ntsila. The side suffered further injuries during the defeat to the Gauteng-based side – losing utility back Ntabeni Dukisa (shoulder), winger Alshaun Bock (biceps) and prop Schalk van der Merwe (shoulder).
Loosehead prop, Mzamo Majola, who made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg in May, will get his first starting berth this weekend as he replaces the injured Van der Merwe in the No1 jersey.
Wandile Mjekevu will start at right wing in the place of Bock.
In a rotational change, hooker Michael Willemse, who has returned to action following an appendix operation, will regain the No2 jersey as Martin Bezuidenhout will provide cover on the bench.
Ntsila and Cronje, who were on national duty during the June break with the South Africa A side, are also back in the starting XV with Cronje also leading the side as captain once again.
Schalk Ferreira, who has been out of action for three months after sustaining a biceps injury in the closely contested match against the Cell C Sharks in Durban in March, will make his way back into the team from the bench as he provides cover for the loosehead prop position.
Utility back, Masixole Banda, who has also been out with a hamstring injury, will provide backline cover on the bench, while recent South Africa Under-20 representative, Yaw Penxe, will also make a Vodacom Super Rugby return from the bench.
“This week we have tried to keep continuity as we considered players that have done well in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge competition and also players that have come back from injury,” Davids said from Buenos Aires on Thursday.
The team has settled well after a long travel from Port Elizabeth via Johannesburg and Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires for the Southern Kings, but the side has settled well in Argentina.
“It was a long and tiring travel to Buenos Aires. The guys were a little tired when we arrived here. We have done some recovery and had a good team meeting and training session,” said the head coach.
“The guys look excited and are ready to go on Friday night.
“We expect a very tough game. The Jaguares will always be a formidable side here in Buenos Aires. They have selected an internationally experienced team, so we know we have to be at our best from the start. We have to keep the pressure on them for the whole 80 minutes to ensure that we have a good result here in Buenos Aires.”
The Southern Kings team to take on the Jaguares:
15. Malcolm Jaer
14. Wandile Mjekevu
13. Berton Klaasen
12. Luzuko Vulindlu
11. Makazole Mapimpi
10. Lionel Cronje (capt)
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Andisa Ntsila
7. Tyler Paul
6. Chris Cloete
5. Wilhelm van der Sluys
4. Irne Herbst
3. Ross Geldenhuys (v/c)
2. Michael Willemse
1. Mzamo Majola
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Yaw Penxe.
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Lucas Noguera. Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Santiago Cordero.