Kings tweak side for first Pro14 home game
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids has made a few changes to his matchday 23 to face up to Leinster in a historic Pro14 clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
It will be the Kings first home match in the competition as well as the first time that Pro14 matches are played on South African soil and hooker Micheal Willemse will once again have the honour of leading the team onto the field while centre Luzuko Vulindlu will be vice-captain.
Only one change has been made in the Kings backline from the team that did duty against Connacht last weekend – scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen coming in for Godlen Masimla who drops to the bench.
Amongst the front row, an injury to Rossouw De Klerk has resulted in Luvuyo Pupuma being rewarded for his try-scoring performance against Connacht by being included in the starting XV while Petrus Strauss and Martin Dreyer have been brought onto the bench. There is also a change at lock where Stephan Greeff takes over from Jurie Van Vuuren.
Coach Davids cut a satisfied figure as he ran the rule over his charges during a boisterous open practice session on Thursday.
"It's great to be back on home soil and we are looking forward to the game against Leinster on Saturday. We plan on giving everything we have to entertain the fans and we're hoping they turn out in large numbers to cheer us on," he said.
Southern Kings Chief Operating Officer Charl Crous shared similar sentiments.
"There are many times that home support has given the Kings that extra bit of lift that's necessary when things get tough and we are definitely going to need our fans to come to the party again on Saturday." said Crous.
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Micheal Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Petrus Strauss, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Siyabulela Mdaka, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa/Oliver Zono, 23 Jacques Nel.
Date: Saturday, September 16
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 14.15 (13.15 Ireland Time; 12.15 GMT)
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)