Hurt by their 58-12 loss to Free State last weekend, EP Kings U21 coach Ryan Felix said his team were determined to bounce back when they meet the Leopards in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division in Potchefstroom on Saturday (July 18).
The EP team, who welcome back flank Kevin Kaba as captain this weekend, are playing in the Premier Division for the first time and are fired up to show they can compete with the leading provincial teams in their age-group.
“l don’t want to take anything away from Free State because they are a good side,” Felix said, “but we made a lot of basic errors in the match which allowed them to catch us on the counter-attack to score a few tries.
“There is too much talent in this age-group for that kind of score to happen and the guys have come back this week and really worked hard in training. They are looking to put in a big performance this weekend.”
Kaba will renew a close relationship with Felix since he captained the EP U19 side and the Kings coach welcomed him back into the starting line-up after an injury.
“Kevin will add a bit more as a ball-carrier for us. He takes over the captaincy from CJ Velleman, but CJ is also a good leader so they will work together in taking the team forward,” Felix said.
In playing their second match away from home, EP have been given a testing start to the season, but a good performance in Potch will set them up nicely for their first home appearances, against Western Province on July 25 and the Blue Bulls on July 31.
The U19s, meanwhile, were delighted with their 28-15 over the Free Staters in a match which they always expected to be a tough challenge.
Coach Mzwandile Stick will be urging them to take that sort of form into the match against the Leopards in the knowledge that a second win in a row will give them the perfect platform to launch a serious assault on making the playoffs.
Last year the U19s showed how competitive they could be in the Premier Division and there is plenty of incentive for the players to again confirm their talent this time around.
If they can keep their feet on the ground and execute the basics well, there is no reason why they cannot show an improvement on last year’s sixth position on the final log.
The squads are:
EP U19 (15-1): Mabhutana Peter, Avelo Jubase, Yamkela Nyalambisa, Jeremy Ward (captain), Athi Mayinje, Jordan Koekemoer, James Hall, Junior Pokomela, Hayden Tharratt, SF Nieuwoudt, Lusanda Badiyana (vice-captain), Robert Lyons, Roche van Zyl, Masikane Mazwi, Nicolaas Oosthuizen.
Replacements (16-23): Thango Balekile, Xandre Vos, Keegan Branford, Mihlali Mosi, Wihan Coetzer, Sibusiso Ngcokavane, Jacquis Oosthuizen, Dominik Uytenbogaardt.
EP U21 (15-1): Malcolm Jaer, Lindelwe Zungu, Somila Jho, Luan Nieuwoudt (vice-captain), Warren Swarts, Simon Bolze, Franswa Ueckermann, Kevin Kaba (captain), Tyler Paul, CJ Velleman, Jan Uys, Gerrit Huisamen, Matthew Moore, JP Jamieson, David Murray.
Replacements (16-22): Jedwyn Harty, Thembellihle Yase, Wynand Grassman, Andrew Hughes, Luvo Claasen, Riaan Esterhuizen, Mihlali Nchukana.
Latest posts by Alan Straton (see all)
- I am Kinda Glad I don’t Eat Meat - 6 December 2019
- Manhunt for four suspects in E Cape - 6 December 2019
- 5 December 2019 Loadshedding Menu of Darkness – Stage 2 - 5 December 2019
- The most destructive mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay’s history REMOVED - 5 December 2019
- Happy 14th Birthday - 5 December 2019