Aug 6 • General News • 1665 Views • Comments Off on EP KINGS U19 AND U21 PREVIEW VS GOLDEN LIONS

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EVEN though the Golden Lions have lost two of their four fixtures this season, EP Kings U19 coach Mzwandile Stick is expecting a massive onslaught when the sides clash in a top-of-the-table match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday (August 1, 09.30).
Skipper Jeremy Ward’s Kings have made the perfect start to the season, with four wins in four matches, but they have all been hard-fought affairs and there is no question of the challenge which lies ahead of them on Saturday.
Ward is back this week after missing last Friday’s match against the Blue Bulls due to injury and his committed play in midfield should be a strong factor in EP’s bid to keep a spotless record.
“We know this will be a tough one, but we are looking forward to it,” Stick said. “It is basically a battle for the top spot as the Lions are lying second and we know they will come out hard. But we are up for the challenge.”
Stick put the reason for the Kings’ success this season on their team ethic, plus the fact that the players have bought into the style of play.
“This season the boys are really playing for each other,” Stick, a former Blitz Bok sevens star, said. “We don’t have any real star players, but the boys have stuck together, playing as a team.
“They have also bought 100 per cent into the style of play we are trying to develop and we give them freedom to express themselves.”
While the Lions have lost to the Blue Bulls and Western Province, both teams whom EP beat, the Kings side will have to keep their feet on the ground against a competitive visiting outfit.
After four matches, the Lions are only five points off the pace set by EP’s 17 points and it would take just one win to narrow the gap to manageable proportions. This encounter, therefore, looms as a crucial fixture for both teams.
The EP U21 side will be chasing a change of fortunes in the second match on Saturday (11.30), but face another big examination against the table-topping Lions.
Although the Lions went down to Western Province last week, they are still setting the pace and they will be looking to get back on track as they attempt to consolidate their spot at the top.
Having graduated from the B division, the EP Kings have found it tough going in the top section and have yet to register a win after four games. Yet they showed their competitive spirit in scoring three tries against the Bulls last weekend and if they can bolster their defence and maintain a strong work ethic, there is no reason why they cannot turn their season around.
The squads are:

EP U19 (15-1): Mabhutana Peter, Athi Mayinje, Yamkela Nyalambisa, Jeremy Ward, Avelo Jubase, Michael Brink, James Hall, Junior Pokomela, Hayden Tharratt, SF Nieuwoudt, Lusanda Badiyana, Robert Lyons, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Thango Balekile, Matthew Howes.
Replacements (16-23): Masikane Mazwi, Xandre Vos, Kuhle Makhoabane, Wihan Coetzer, Jason Lizamore, Sibusiso Ngcokavane, Jordan Koekemoer, Dominik Uytenbogaardt.

EP U21 (15-1): Malcolm Jaer, Ivan-John du Preez, Sam Bedlow, Riaan Esterhuizen, Lindelwe Zungu, Simon Bolze, Davron Cameron, Andy Hughes, Tyler Paul, Jason Reinecke, Jan Uys (captain), Gerrit Huisamen, Thembelihle Yase, Cameron van Heerden, David Murray.
Replacements (16-22): JP Jamieson, James Beyl, Henry Brown, Wynand Grasman, Luvo Claasen, Luan Nieuwoudt, Somila Jho.

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