Editor: Draw your own conclusion from this – The Southern Kings and Brumbies both have 19 points in the competition, the Southern Kings are playing at home, the Sharks beat the Brumbies away, the Southern Kings beat the Sharks so …. who do you think my money is one to win Saturday’s game?
In a week where the Southern Kings have been dealing with an increase in injuries, head coach Deon Davids has been forced to make three changes to his team that will take on the Brumbies in a Vodacom Super Rugby encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday – kick-off at 19h30.
Following the side’s closely contested 35-32 win over the Cell C Sharks last week, casualties on the injury list included instrumental loose-forward Chris Cloete (concussion) and fullback Masixole Banda (hamstring).
A late withdrawal at training on Thursday morning forced lock, Wilhelm van der Sluys, to be withdrawn from participating in this weekend’s match with a groin injury.
Stefan Willemse, who has been on the bench for the Southern Kings’ last two matches, will slot in the No6 jersey as a replacement for Cloete, while Namibian international Chrysander Botha will start at fullback in Banda’s place.
Lubabalo Mtyanda will don the No5 jersey as a replacement for Van der Sluys.
Mzwanele Zito will slot in on the bench as lock cover, while Thembelani Bholi makes a return to the team as loose-forward cover.
“I think we had a good week, but unfortunately we lost a bit of continuity with some of our players out with injury. However, I am happy for the guys that will now get an opportunity, and they are quite eager to get this chance. It is up to them to show that they can step up,” Davids said.
“Cloete’s performances speak for themselves – he is a quality player. It will be difficult to get the exact same performance from any other player, but different players bring different attributes.In this case, Stefan Willemse, combining with Andy (Andisa Ntsila) will bring something different.
“Van der Sluys has been a key man for us in the line-out. We have used Tyler Paul there before and also Giant (Lubabalo Mtyanda) is an experienced guy. I don’t think there will be too many disctructions, I think they can pull it off.”
Davids is expecting a tough encounter against the Brumbies.
“We have been looking at our execution and where opportunities may be against the Brumbies. We will have to work very hard to get over that advantage line, to maintain momentum and to hold on to the ball,” the head coach said.
“There is a lot of experience and strong, physical guys in their midst. They are dangerous attackers also, so it will be a good challenge.”
The match will be preceded by a curtain-raiser between the Eastern Province Kings and Boland Cavaliers, who will be taking each other on in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash. While earlier in the day there will be seven Meyer Sauerman Tournament Under-16 and Under-18 matches ahead of selection the Eastern Province Grant Khomo and Craven Weeks’ teams.
Gates will open from 11h00 for the B and C fields’ Meyer Sauerman matches, with the rest of the gates opening at 16h00 ahead of the 16h45 start of the curtain-raiser.
Tickets for the Family Festival of Rugby start at R20 for a limited number of tickets on a designated area on the East Stand, with the rest of the tickets selling from R60. Tickets are available online on www.ticketpros.co.za and all TicketPro-linked outlets.
The Southern Kings team to face the Brumbies is:
15. Chrysander Botha
14. Alshaun Bock
13. Berton Klaasen
12. Luzuko Vulindlu
11. Makazole Mapimpi
10. Lionel Cronje ©
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Andisa Ntsila
7. Tyler Paul
6. Stefan Willemse
5. Lubabalo Mtyanda
4. Irne Herbst
3. Ross Geldenhuys
2. Martin Bezuidenhout
1. Schalk van der Merwe
16. Kurt Haupt
17. Chris Heiberg
18. Dayan van der Westhuizen
19. Mzwanele Zito
20. Thembelani Bholi
21. Johan Steyn
22. Pieter-Steyn de Wet
23. Nicolaas Hanekom