Marais in Kings' last line

Tue, 21 May 2013 14:44
Large sp marais   alan solomons Large sp marais ball Large luke watson kings interview

The Southern Kings team has remained relatively unchanged for the Round XV Super Rugby encounter with the Cheetahs.

The Southern Kings team has remained relatively unchanged for the Round 15 Super Rugby encounter with the Cheetahs.

There is just one change in their starting line-up, as SP Marais returns at fullback for the Round 15 game in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons said they had only made two other changes - with Jacques Engelbrecht coming back onto the bench in place of Devon Oosthuizen, after his recovery from an ankle strain against the Waratahs, while Rynier Bernardo also came up to the bench for Daniel Adongo, as a rotation.

"It was great to have SP [Marais] back against the Highlanders - where he played from the bench," Solomons said about the decision to move Marais to the starting line-up and drop George Whitehead to the bench.

"He [Marais] has now proved that he's fit and rearing to go and it's great to have him back in the side. That said, I think George has done an excellent job for us."

There was more good news for the Kings, with veteran centre Andries Strauss having passed a fitness test.

"He has come through both sessions - yesterday [Monday] and today [Tuesday], which was a much more challenging session, in perfect nick, so he's ready to take his place," the Kings boss said.

Solomons said Luke Watson, who had once again been selected as captain of the team following his outstanding performance against the Highlanders, was battling a bit with a head cold, but was expected to be fit for Saturday's game.

 "It is nothing serious, but as a precaution we've told him to stay in bed and the doctor has attended to him. With tomorrow [Wednesday] being an off day, he should be 100 percent by Thursday."

Solomons said the team was looking forward to their second clash against the Cheetahs.

"For us this is a really fantastic challenge on the weekend, and we see this as a real opportunity, bearing in mind that the Cheetahs are a side that are lying second in the South African conference at the moment and challenging very strongly for a playoff position.

"I think the important thing is that when you play against a team like the Cheetahs you have to cut your error rate. They will capitalise on the mistakes that you make, so they are certainly a side you have to be careful about and cut your errors."

Solomons said it was also important to remain "defensively sharp" against them.

"They're a side that likes to play a tempo game and move the ball about, so I think you have to have your wits about you defensively when you play against them," he said.

Southern Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Luke Watson (captain), 6 Wimpie van der Walt, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steve Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Bernado, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Shane Gates, 22 George Whitehead.

Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)

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Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
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Force 15 6 0 9 26
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Team P W D L Pts
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Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
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