Kings change captains again

Wed, 27 Mar 2013 07:37
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Returning Springbok Andries Strauss will lead the Southern Kings out against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

Returning Springbok Andries Strauss will lead the Southern Kings out against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

It will be the fifth new captain in as many games for the Super Rugby rookies.

It started when captain Luke Watson took a blow to the throat in the opening match, ruling him out of their next few matches and the tour. Then stand-in Darron Nell (who strained a calf muscle in the warm-up before the encounter with the Chiefs), Steven Sykes (who took over the captaincy from Nell was injured during the game against the Chiefs) and Strauss (, who took over the captaincy from Watson in the opening match was also injured against the Chiefs).

Strauss, an uncapped Bok who played in a midweek match on the 2010 year-end tour, has recovered from the bruised AC joint that sidelined him during last week's big loss to the Crusaders.

He is one of two senior players returning, according to Kings Director of Rugby, who confirmed that the team has settled in Wellington and "enjoying" their first Super Rugby tour.

"It looks like we will be fine," Solomon told this website from the team's training base in New Zealand.

"Obviously a lot of guys were sore after the [Crusaders] match, having taken some knocks, and a few guys will sit out [training] till Thursday.

"However, they should be all available to play when the team is announced on Thursday."

He confirmed that two of the team's most experienced players Strauss and Sykes - will return.

"As a precaution he didn't play [against the Crusaders] last week, as he still struggled with a bruised AC joint," Solomons said.

"Steve Sykes as well, having taken a knock [against the Chiefs in Round Five].

"It will be great to have those two guys back in the side, both in terms of their playing ability and the leadership they provide."

The Kings boss confirmed that Strauss will captain the side and Sykes will be vice-captain.

He said getting that experience back makes a "huge" difference on a trip of this nature.

"Both guys have played plenty of Super Rugby and are very experienced players," Solomons said, adding: "Andries had played with the Sharks and Cheetahs, while Steven had played with the Sharks."

The Kings boss said last week's captain, Schalk Ferreira, did a very, very good job.

"I think he did a superb job," he said, adding that people underestimate the value of the back-up leadership, who are often the unsung heroes.

"He [Ferreira] is a first-class bloke. He has plenty of experience gained from playing at the Stormers - he is indeed one of the unsung heroes behind the scenes."

By Jan de Koning

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