All change for Kings

Tue, 23 Oct 2012 16:52
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Darron Nell will captain an injury-hit EP Kings side in the second leg of their promotion/relegation play-off with the Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Darron Nell will captain an injury-hit EP Kings side in the second leg of their promotion/relegation play-off with the Free State Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Already having a mountain to climb following their 53-14 defeat in Bloemfontein last Friday, injuries to stand-in skipper Wayne Stevens and fullback SP Marais have compounded the Kings’ woes ahead of the return fixture at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.  

Nell has recovered from an injury he sustained during the First Division Final against the Pumas a fortnight ago and regains the captain’s armband from the injured Stevens.

He replaces David Bullbring in the second row, with Schalk Ferreira, also returning from injury, replacing Jaco Engels at loosehead and Andre Schlechter starting at tighthead.

In the back row, Devin Oosthuizen shifts from openside flank to No.8 with Conraad Britz filling the void at the side of the scrum.

Falie Oelschig, Samoan wing Paul Perez and former Lions utility back Michael Killian are the only survivors in the backline who started at the Free State Stadium.

George Whitehead starts at flyhalf ahead of Wesley Dunlop, veteran Tiger Mangweni is back at inside centre after being rested last week and is joined in midfield by Perez, who shifts from right wing to the vacant outside centre berth.  

Killian movers from left wing to fullback with Siviwe Soyizwapi and Norman Nelson completing a new-look back three.

Coach Matt Sexton suggested that the team has an opportunity this week to showcase their true potential after an error-strewn performance.  

"We were poor right across the board and we just didn't step up. There are no excuses for the penalties that we gave away last week,” said Sexton.  

“The big thing for us is to cut out the elementary mistakes; the knock-ons and the easy turnovers. It's a tough mountain to climb but we've shown throughout the campaign that we're a team with character and we're capable of launching a massive fight back."

Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said it was important for the team to put the disappointment of last week behind them. “The message to the team this week's been about getting our performance right,” he said.

“We're very fortunate that we have another opportunity to get things right. We need to focus on our performance and as a group we're determined to put things right. We need get our performance right and once that's sorted all things will fall into place.

“We can't put the cart in front of the horse and we just need to focus on the basics and ourselves"

EP Kings: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Norman Nelson, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Tiger Mangweni, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Devin Oosthuizen, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Conraad Britz, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Andre Schlechter, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Mpho Mbiyozo, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 Wesley Dunlop, 22 Scott van Breda.

Date: Friday, October 26
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Quintin Immelman, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Johann Meuwesen

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Team P W D L Pts
Golden Lions 10 10 0 0 48
Blue Bulls 10 8 0 2 39
Western Province 10 7 0 3 35
Free State Cheetahs 10 3 2 5 24
Sharks 10 4 1 5 22
Pumas 10 3 1 6 17
EP Kings 10 2 0 8 12
Griquas 10 1 0 9 8