Isuzu Southern Kings loose-forward, CJ Velleman is set to make his long-awaited return to the field and Guinness PRO14 debut when the Port Elizabeth-based side takes on Glasgow Warriors at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is at 15h00 SA-time (14h00 UK-time).
Following two years on the sidelines due to two serious knee injuries, the talented 23-year-old loose-forward will make his comeback from the bench after last appearing for the Isuzu Southern Kings in the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
Coincidentally, Velleman will be making his return to play on the ground where he played for his alma-mater, Nelson Mandela University, as a junior.
“It has been a long, hard past two years,” Velleman said.
“There are no words to describe the feeling of being back on the field again. I’m excited, and cannot wait to get back on the turf again.”
Head Coach Deon Davids has made four personnel changes to his starting XV for the Round 4 encounter, with an additional two positional switches.
The Isuzu Southern Kings will have a new halfback pairing as Rudi van Rooyen starts at scrumhalf, as Godlen Masimla starts on the bench. Flyhalf Martin du Toit will make his first start of the season in the No10 jersey, with Masixole Banda shifting to fullback and Michael Botha occupying the bench to provide backline cover.
The side will also have a new loose-trio as Andisa Ntsila shifts from No8 to blindside flanker. Ruaan Lerm will start at eighthman and Henry “Bakkies” Brown at openside flank.
“Our plan has always been to give our players a chance to play, hence our rotation of the squad,” Davids said.
“It is great to see guys like CJ Velleman returning to the side after working hard to get back to full fitness.
“We have worked hard this week on all the areas where we felt we fell short over the past few weeks. We are looking forward to playing at a new venue here at the Nelson Mandela University, but we know we have a big task ahead against a strong Glasgow Warriors side that remains unbeaten in the Championship.”
Gates at Madibaz Stadium open at 12pm on Saturday. Tickets are available at Ticketpro outlets and the University’s The Kraal at R20 for the open stand and R60 for the Grand Stand.
The team is:
Shirt no. Player (surname then first name)
15. Banda Masixole
14. Penxe Yaw
13. Klassen Harlon
12. Klassen Berton
11. Basson Bjorn
10. Du Toit Martin
9. van Rooyen Rudi
1. Ferreira Schalk
2. Willemse Michael(C)
3. Pupuma Luvuyo
4. De Wee Bobby
5. Astle John-Charles
6. Brown Henry
7. Ntsila Andisa
8. Lerm Ruaan
16. Van Rooyen Alandre
17. Forwood Justin
18. Dreyer Martin
19. Greeff Stephan
20. Velleman CJ
21. Masimla Godlen
22. Dukisa Ntabeni
23. Botha Michael