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Rugby | Pro 14

Deon Davids © Gallo Images

Kings make two changes for Leinster



The Southern Kings have made two changes to their team for Saturday’s historic first Guinness PRO14 home match against Leinster at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

There is one enforced change, with prop Rossouw de Klerk dropping out because of injury, thus enabling Luvuyo Pupuma, who scored a try last week and had one disallowed as a replacement, to start at tighthead.

The scrum should have been a massive concern to the Kings coaching staff after the 32-12 defeat to Connacht in Galway and needless to say there will be a lot of pressure on the home unit to get it right against the Irish provincial team.

The other change sees Rudi van Rooyen returning at scrumhalf for Godlen Masimla. Van Rooyen started the opening match against Scarlets in Wales two weeks ago. There are two changes to the bench, with Martin Dreyer and Petrus Strauss coming in as front-row back-up.

Coach Deon Davids is clearly trying to follow the continuity mantra, and to be fair to the Kings, they did finish strongly against Connacht last week.

The Kings have shown so far that if they do get ball to play with, they have the pace and inventiveness out wide to entertain, and that is what Davids is hoping for on Saturday in front of what he hopes will be a large and appreciative home crowd.

“After playing two tough matches away it is great to be back on home turf and we have really been looking forward to this game,” said Davids.

“We plan on giving everything we have to please the fans and we hope they will turn up in large numbers to support us.”

The Kings enjoyed good support towards the end of Super Rugby, when they produced a few shock results, such as a home win over the Sharks followed by an historic away victory at Loftus, but there has been significant change to personnel since then.

The Kings are approaching the tournament from a different angle to the Cheetahs, who have pretty much the same team that played for them in Super Rugby playing in the PRO14.

Whereas the Cheetahs used the first few weeks of the Currie Cup to warm up for their debut in the new competition, the Kings are pretty much starting from scratch again, with close to a completely new pack, a new captain and a new halfback pairing.

Players who were stars in Super Rugby such as wing Makazole Mapimpi, prop Ross Cronje, scrumhalves Louis Schreuder and Stephan Ungerer, lock Irne Herbst and flyhalf/captain Lionel Cronje are now plying their trade elsewhere.

However the Kings have shown promising signs in the early phases of PRO14 that they might be quick learners, as they were in Super Rugby. They would have been heartened by their performance in the second half in Galway but need to eliminate soft moments that cost them points in both their previous two games and it goes without saying that they are also going to require a massive improvement in both aspects of first phase play if they are going to be competitive.

Southern Kings team: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Sibusiso Sithole, Kurt Coleman, Rudi van Rooyen, Andisa Ntsila, Victor Sekekete, Dries van Schalkwyk, Stephan Greeff, Luvuyo Pupuma, Michael Willemse (captain), Schalk Ferreira.

Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Petrus Strauss, Martin Dreyer, Bobby de Vee, Siyabulela Mdaka, Godlen Masimla, Ntabeni Dukisa/Oliver Zono, Jacques Nel.



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