Banda to play pivotal role for Kings against Cheetahs
PRO14 TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Southern Kings and Cheetahs both made significant changes to their teams for their encounter in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
One point will guarantee the Cheetahs third spot in pool A, less if Cardiff Blues do not gain maximum points against Osprey.
The Cheetahs have ensured they will contest the play-offs, but for the Kings, it is the last match in their first season of the Pro14 competition.
There is a raft of changes, some positional and some injury-enforced, to the Southern Kings team.
The backline sees the exciting Masixole Banda - deployed exclusively as a fullback this season - get his first start at flyhalf, with Yaw Penxe moving from the wing into the No.15 jersey.
Harlon Klaasen is drafted in on the wing vacated by Penxe. Ntabeni Dukisa who did duty at flyhalf in the Kings' last match against the Cardiff Blues switches to inside centre in place of Luzuko Vulindlu, with Jacques Nel selected outside him in preference to Berton Klaasen. Nel also takes over the captain's armband for the day as a result of regular skipper Schalk Ferreira being unavailable due to injury.
Ferreira's unavailability means there is a start in the No.1 jersey for Justin Forwood, who makes a welcome return to action after a long-term injury.
Other changes amongst the forwards see Stephan Greeff re-united with regular lock partner Bobby De Wee and Lubabalo Mtyanda moved to the bench.
The loose forwards have also been re-arranged - with only Marthinus Burger retaining his place after the Cardiff Blues encounter and Khaya Majola (flank) and Dries Van Schalkwyk (No.8) replacing Lusanda Badiyana and Ruaan Lerm respectively.
There are also three changes to the Kings bench. Dayan Van Der Westhuizen returns as replacement prop to fill the void left by Forwood's promotion to the starting XV whilst JP Smith and JC Roos are also included as backline cover.
Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan also made some changes from last week.
Niel Marais moves to flyhalf, with Johan Goosen providing cover on the bench.
Clinton Swart will be wearing the No.12 jersey.
Lloyd Greeff is new to the bench and will be making his debut when he sets foot on the field.
The following Cheetahs players are not eligible for team selection due to injury: Dennis Visser (knee), Elandré Huggett (knee) Ruan van Rensburg, (hand), Luan de Bruin (chest muscle), Shaun Venter (knee), Nico Lee (ankle), Luther Obi (knee), Justin Basson (ankle).
Kings coach Deon Davids Davids acknowledged that the Cheetahs would present a formidable challenge at the end of what has been a long and difficult season for the Kings, but said his team were determined to turn in a good "farewell" performance for their fans.
"We've had to learn a lot in a short space of time this season but this team has always given 100 percent and I expect no different tomorrow," he said.
The two sides have met on six previous occasions in all competitions, with Cheetahs running out victors in all those matches.
"Our focus will be on being better and converting pressure into points," Cheetahs captain Francois Venter said.
"We need to be more clinical."
Southern Kings: 15 Yaw Penxe, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Ntabeni Dukisa, 11 Harlon Klaasen, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Justin Forwood.
Replacements: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Luvuyo Pupuma, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 21 Lusanda Badiyana, 22 Jean-Pierre Smith, 23 Juan-Claude Roos.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Charl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lloyd Greeff.
Date: Saturday, April 28
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman and Rodney Bonaparte
TMO: Johan Greeff