EP KINGS U19 and U21 vs Sharks preview

Aug 27 • General News • 1683 Views • Comments Off on EP KINGS U19 and U21 vs Sharks preview

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THE EP Kings U19 side may be sitting on top of the log, but coach Mzwandile Stick has sent out a warning to his team that there is still much to be achieved when the second half of the Absa U19 Provincial Championship kicks off this weekend.

Under the guidance of Stick, assistant coach Wayne van Heerden and skipper Jeremy Ward, the Kings have racked up six wins out of six, establishing themselves as the frontrunners in the competition. They will be looking to keep that run intact against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in PE on Saturday (August 29) (kick-off 12.15).

However, Stick knows that they are now a major target for their opponents and he said the squad would be keeping their feet on the ground and focusing only on the next game from now onwards.

“We are actually in a difficult space at the moment because we know the other teams will all be targeting us and we are coming off a bye last weekend,” Stick said. “But my job is to get the guys just to focus on one step at a time and and make them realise that we have achieved nothing yet.

“They have bought into that and we are not looking at the playoffs or anything like that. Our only focus is to keep on improving our performances with each game.”

Six points ahead of the second-placed Bulls, the Kings have the inside track, but they will be tested by three tough away games in the second half of the programme. “The Bulls, WP and the Lions (all away games) are playing good rugby now so it will not be easy for us,” Stick said.

The Kings have included Grey High star and 2014 SA Schools player Keanu Vers at fullback and he should add a sharp edge to their attacking instincts.

In the U21 competition, the Kings outfit have used the break to re-focus on their remaining matches after failing to record a win in the first half.

While it has been a tough season, coach Ryan Felix said the team were determined to learn from their performances in the first half.

“We have had a week off and the team have come back re-energised and excited for Saturday’s match against the Sharks (kick-off 14.30),” Felix said. “We will be looking to improve on our performances, because we have managed to create opportunities but often did not finish off.

“The guys are fired up to prove themselves in the second half and we want them to go out there and enjoy themselves. There is plenty of eagerness and commitment in the camp to do well.”

The team will welcome back from injury ace flank CJ Velleman, who has missed most of the season, while SA U20 star Malcolm Jaer returns to fullback, with MC Venter slotting in at flyhalf.

The teams are:

EP U19 (15-1): Keanu Vers, Dominik Uytenbogaardt, Yamkela Nyalambisa, Jeremy Ward, Athi Mayinje, Michael Brink, James Hall, Junior Pokomela, Hayden Tharratt, SF Nieuwoudt, Lusanda Badiyana, Robert Lyons, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Thango Balekile, Xandre Vos.

Replacements (16-23): Masikane Mazwi, Greg Jackson, Kuhle Mokhoabane, Xolisa Matshoba, Wihan Coetzer, Sibusiso Ngcokovane, Jordan Koekemoer, Avelo Jubase.

 

EP U21 (15-1): Malcolm Jaer, Lindelwe Zungu, Somila Jho, Riaan Esterhuizen, Warren Swarts, MC Venter, Francois Euckermann, Kevin Kaba (capt), Tyler Paul, CJ Velleman, Jan Uys, Gerrit Huisamen, Stefan van Schalkwyk, Jedwyn Harty, David Murray.

Replacements (16-22): JP Jamieson, Matthew Moore, Henry Brown, Wynand Grasman, Luvo Claasen, Leighton van Wyk, Khaya Malotana.

The logs after six games are:

U19: EP 26, Blue Bulls 20, WP 19, Golden Lions 17, Leopards 12, Free State 11, Sharks 6.

U21: WP 24, Golden Lions 22, Free State and Sharks 19, Blue Bulls 19, Leopards 6, EP Kings 0.

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