There were few surprises when Southern Kings Head Coach Deon Davids today named his 28-man squad for the team’s upcoming three match tour of Europe. The local franchise face a daunting schedule, with GUINNESSPRO14 championship matches against Ulster, Ospreys and Leinster on consecutive weekends.
Notable absentees from the travelling squad include flyhalf Oliver Zono and fullback Ntabeni Dukisa who are both likely to be out for an extended period of time due to injury.
Also missing are prop Martin Dreyer, scrumhalf Rudi Van Rooyen, wing Alshaun Bock and forward Dries Van Schalkwyk. These four are all still recovering from various knocks and niggles and Coach Davids along with team doctor Clement Plaatjies felt it would be unwise to risk them at this stage. All are expected to be fit for the home fixture against Benetton once the Kings have returned from Europe.
On the plus side for the Kings, front-row strongman Luvuyo Pupuma makes a welcome return to the squad after having come through a midweek friendly against the Madibaz Varsity Cup side unscathed and wing Michael Makase is also back from injury. Tentatively scheduled to be ready for action again in the near future are Justin Forwood and CJ Velleman whose long-term rehabilitation is going “according to plan.”
“I believe we’ve picked the strongest squad available to us and I have no doubt the players will give a good account of themselves over the next few weeks,” said Coach Davids. “As a squad we have shown consistent improvement in our play as the season has progressed and it’s important to me that we continue to do so. Having said that, we know that we have three extremely tough fixtures ahead of us and that we will have to be at our best. Not only will we be up against formidable opposition but we’ll also have to adapt to the icy conditions of the Northern Hemisphere winter,” he added.
The Kings will face Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Friday, 9 February, then Ospreys in Swansea on Friday, 16 February before heading back to Ireland for a match against Leinster on Friday, 23 February. All three matches will be broadcast live on Supersport DSTV Channel 201.
TOURING SQUAD NAMES
Michael Willemse (Captain)
Arthur (Bobby) de Wee
Martinus (Tienie) Burger
Martin du Toit
Dayan van der Westhuizen
Jurie van Vuuren
Juan-Phillip (JP) Smith
Barend (Benhard) Janse van Rensburg