Kings go big for Lions showdown

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 14:56
Large charl du plessis630

Kings caretaker coach Robbie Kempson is hoping for a better performance up front against the Lions this weekend.

Kings caretaker coach Robbie Kempson is hoping for a better performance up front against the Lions this weekend.

In their opening friendly against the Cheetahs last week, which the Kings lost 36-21, Kempson was not impressed with the pressure placed on the home forwards and was planning for a better showing against the Lions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

"The scrums did not go as I would have liked against the Cheetahs," Kempson said on Tuesday.

"We were under pressure the whole game and I feel we should have had them under more pressure.

"We have been working on those issues with the scrumming machine and hopefully we can sort them out against the Lions.

Kempson is hoping the experience and bulk of prop Charl du Plessis will help their scrumming performance against the Lions.

"Charl brings a bit more experience to the front row and more bulk," he said.

Du Plessis returns after a lengthy layoff through injury and replaces Pieter Stemmet, who drops to a Vodacom Cup squad which will play Community Cup champions Despatch in the curtain-raiser.

The only other change to the side sees Shane Gates getting a start at inside centre in place of Dwayne Jenner, who is on the bench.

Jenner, however, is on standby for outside centre Ronnie Cooke, who took a knock to the hip against the Cheetahs and will have a final fitness test on Thursday. If Cooke sits out, Brian Skosana will come in for Jenner among the reserves.

With the Cheetahs taking 66 minutes before they edged ahead on the scoreboard at the weekend, Kempson said they were hoping to take some momentum into the Lions game.

"The Lions play a different type of game, with much faster spurts (than the Cheetahs) and we are looking forward to giving them the best opportunity to prepare for Super Rugby... I expect them to field a strong side."

Kings: 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12. Dwayne Jenner, 11 Michael Killian, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 Devin Oosthuizen, 7 Darron Nell (captain), 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Charl du Plessis, 2 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 JC Olberholzer, 17 Lizo Gqboko, 18 Vukile Sofisa, 19 Stephan Zaayman, 20 Stephan Greeff, 21 Thembelani Bholi, 22 Sonwabo Majola, 23 Dwayne Jenner/Brian Skosana, 24 Ntabeni Dukisa.

Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jason Jaftha

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Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
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Force 16 3 0 13 19
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Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
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Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
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Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26