Sykes psyched for Sharks clash

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:23
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Kings lock Steven Sykes is looking forward to playing against his former teammates when the Super Rugby newcomers face the Sharks on Saturday.

Southern Kings lock Steven Sykes is looking forward to playing against his former teammates when the Super Rugby newcomers face the Sharks on Saturday.

Sykes joined the Port Elizabeth franchise from the Sharks on a two-year deal as one of their marquee signings and was instrumental in their debut victory over the Western Force a fortnight ago.

The 28-year-old, who hails from Cradock in the Eastern Cape, began his career at the Sharks in 2005 and went on to become a two-time Currie Cup winner with the Durban team, who he represented in 109 Currie Cup and 69 Super Rugby matches.

The second row forward signed a three-year deal with Leinster but was released by the Irish club after just four appearances and rejoined the Sharks on a one-year contract before he opted to return to his roots by linking up with the Kings.

The move reunited Sykes with former Sharks teammate, Andries Strauss, who traded Bloemfontein for Port Elizabeth after two years at the Cheetahs, and the experienced pair form part of the leadership group of the Kings.

Sykes said he is relishing the encounter and believes they have earned the respect of the visitors as well as the other teams in the competition with their gutsy 22-10 home win.

“I think the people will treat us with a bit more respect than what they had before the season. I think we did very well in the first game that we played and we showed that we are here and we are here to stay. I don’t think people will send their second string sides down to us, so it’s a nice challenge for us as well,” Sykes said.

He added that he is also looking forward to playing in front of a full house at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

“The atmosphere at the game against the Force was amazing, probably the best I’ve experienced, and I am hoping that everyone will come out and support us again as we take on the Sharks,” he said.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19