Watson's Loftus return in doubt

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 09:21
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Southern Kings captain Luke Watson is in doubt for his team's clash with the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.

Southern Kings captain Luke Watson is in doubt for his team's clash with the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.

The versatile loose forward has been battling an ankle injury all season and is set to see a specialist this week who will determine whether he is able to take the field in Pretoria.

Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons told this website that the ankle injury was picked up at the end of last year and has been bothering him all season.

"Luke's ankle is playing up again and he is seeing a specialist so we will have a look at that and take a decision on that.

"It is the ankle that he injured at the end of 2012 in a game against the Leopards, I think that was the semifinal of Division One," he said.

Solomons explained that with the Kings' focus on the promotion/relegation play-offs with the Lions at the end of the season they are intent on ensuring that they have the best possible team at their disposal, which means that they would prefer to err on the side of caution with Watson's niggling ankle injury.

"It has been worrying him all the time, he has been playing with quite a bit of pain and we are quite concerned about it. It is very uncomfortable so he must go and have it seen to, it has not been 100% right so we are taking him to a top ankle specialist in Cape Town.

"We are preparing for the promotion/relegation matches, that is our focus. The strategy is to prepare for those games," he said.

The last time Watson played at Loftus Versfeld was for the Stormners in 2009 when he was the target of considerable abuse from the crowd following inflammatory comments attributed to him in the media, and it seems that his return to the venue is likely to be postponed.

Lock Steven Sykes and wings Sergeal Petersen and Siyanda Grey will definitely not be available for the clash, whilst a call on centre Ronnie Cook will be made later in the week.

"Ronnie Cook went over on his ankle but he should be fine to train by Thursday, so that is not a major issue. Steve Sykes' shoulder is not right yet, we are hoping that he will be involved in the Stormers game, but failing that certainly the Sharks game.

"Sergeal Petersen and Siyanda Grey are both out with hamstring injuries and they won't play," said Solomons.

The Kings boss said that the break has been a blessing for his team, who have set their sights on building some momentum ahead of the crucial promotion/relegation play-offs.

"The break has been great for us, the players got to rest, they were obviously very battered and bruised after ten weeks on the trot of Super Rugby including the Australasian tour.

"The rest did us the world of good, we brought them back last week so they got back into the rhythm of things and the players are looking forward to the challenge of playing at Loftus this weekend," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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