Following a sterling performance against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs this past weekend, it is not surprising to see a fairly unchanged starting line up for the Southern Kings match against the Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Southern Kings caretaker coach Robbi Kempson made only two changes to his starting line up, with prop Charl du Plessis returning to the side after injury, and Shane Gates moving off the bench to centre. Darron Nell will captain the side.
Kempson said he was hoping that Du Plessis would bring experience to the scrums.
“Charl brings a bit more experience to the front row and more bulk,” he said.
“The scrums did not go as I would have liked against the Cheetahs,” Kempson said. “We were under pressure for the majority of our scrums, so we have worked on those issues today, with an extended session on the scrumming machine,” he said.
Gates takes his spot at inside centre in place of Dwayne Jenner, who moves to the bench.
Jenner, however, is on standby for outside centre Ronnie Cooke, who took a knock to the hip against the Cheetahs and will have a final fitness test on Thursday. If Cooke sits out, Brian Skosana will come in for Jenner among the reserves.
Kempson said he was looking forward to carry some of the Kings early momentum against the Cheetahs across to the Lions match.
“The Lions are a very different test, the tempo of their game is much higher and they tend to do things in explosive spurts, so it will be a different game,” he said.
Nell said the players would be looking for a win in their match against the Lions.
“The guys came out of the game against the Cheetahs with a lot more belief than what they went into the game with. That Cheetahs side played in the quarter finals of super rugby last year and the guys walked away from that game definitely knowing that they can play at that level and survive at that level,” he said.
“I think a win against the Lions will be great to build their confidence, that’s what we need to build. We have a lot of young guys in the team and what they need is to believe that they can compete at this level, and a win against the Lions will definitely go a long way to reinforce that,” he said.
The game will kick off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at 5pm on Saturday 1 February. Gates open at 1:30pm, with a curtain raiser between Cell C Community Cup team GAP Management Despatch and the EP Kings Vodacom Cup team, which will take place at 2:30.
Tickets are just R50, and are available at any Computicket outlet or at the stadium’s ticketing office. The match will not be televised.
The Southern Kings team:
1. BG Uys
2. Dane van der Westhuysen
3. Charl du Plessis
4. Steven Sykes
5. Rynier Bernado
6. Paul Schoeman
7. Darron Nel (Captain)
8. Devon Oosthuizen
9. Jaco Grobler
10. George Whitehead
11. Michael Killian
12. Shane Gates
13. Ronnie Cooke/ Dwayne Jenner
14. Sergeal Petersen
15. Siviwe Soyizwapi
16. JC Oberholzer
17. Lizo Gqboko
18. Vukile Sofisa
19. Stephan Zaayman
20. Stefan Greeff
21. Thembelani Bholi
22. Sonwabo Majola
23. Dwayne Jenner
24. Ntabeni Dukisa