Daunting tour ahead for Kings

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 14:20
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SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: There were few surprises when Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids today named his 28-man squad for the team's upcoming three-match tour of Europe. 

The local franchise face a daunting schedule, with Pro14 championship matches against Ulster, Ospreys and Leinster on consecutive weekends.

Notable absentees from the travelling squad include flyhalf Oliver Zono and fullback Ntabeni Dukisa who are both likely to be out for an extended period of time due to injury.

Also missing are prop Martin Dreyer, scrumhalf Rudi Van Rooyen, wing Alshaun Bock and forward Dries Van Schalkwyk. These four are all still recovering from various knocks and niggles and coach Davids along with team doctor Clement Plaatjies felt it would be unwise to risk them at this stage. All are expected to be fit for the home fixture against Benetton once the Kings have returned from Europe.

On the plus side for the Kings, front-row strongman Luvuyo Pupuma makes a welcome return to the squad after having come through a midweek friendly against the Madibaz Varsity Cup side unscathed and wing Michael Makase is also back from injury. Tentatively scheduled to be ready for action again in the near future are Justin Forwood and Cyril-John Velleman whose long-term rehabilitation is going "according to plan."

"I believe we've picked the strongest squad available to us and I have no doubt the players will give a good account of themselves over the next few weeks," said coach Davids. 

"As a squad we have shown consistent improvement in our play as the season has progressed and it's important to me that we continue to do so. Having said that, we know that we have three extremely tough fixtures ahead of us and that we will have to be at our best. Not only will we be up against formidable opposition but we'll also have to adapt to the icy conditions of the Northern Hemisphere winter," he added. 

The Kings will face Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Friday, February 9, then Ospreys in Swansea on Friday, February 16 before heading back to Ireland for a match against Leinster on Friday, February 23. 

Southern Kings squad: Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse (captain), Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Greeff, Arthur de Wee, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm, Rowan Gouws, Martin du Toit, Anthonie Volmink, Luzuko Vulindlu, Berton Klaasen, Michael Makase, Yaw Penxe, Johan Smith, Stephan Coetzee, Tango Balekile, Luvuyo Pupuma, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jurie van Vuuren, Lindokuhle Welemu, Eital Bredenkamp, Godlen Masimla, Juan-Phillip Smith, Barend Janse van Rensburg, Harlon Klaasen, Masixole Banda.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 19 February 2018
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 14h45 Port Elizabeth
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Cape Town
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 16h30 Cape Town
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Fri, 23 February 2018
Dragons v Edinburgh 22h00 Rodney Parade
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
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Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 15 13 0 2 65
Munster 15 9 0 6 49
Cheetahs 15 8 0 7 41
Cardiff Blues 15 7 0 8 33
Connacht 15 5 0 10 28
Ospreys 15 5 0 10 26
Zebre 15 4 0 11 21
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 15 12 0 3 57
Scarlets 15 11 0 4 54
Edinburgh 15 10 0 5 46
Ulster 15 9 1 5 46
Treviso 15 8 0 7 38
Dragons 15 2 2 11 17
Kings 15 0 0 15 4