Kings bring in Bholi for Singapore clash
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids named a 25-man squad that will travel to Singapore where they will take on the Sunwolves in a Super Rugby match at the Singapore National Stadium on Saturday.
The team departs from Port Elizabeth, via Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
Davids has made minimal changes to the matchday 23 squad that took on the Jaguares at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the first match of the season last weekend.
Lock Irne Herbst, who sustained a concussion against the Jaguares, misses out on the Asian trip while fullback Chrysander Botha has not been included in the travelling squad, with Pieter-Steyn de Wet, who replaces Botha, getting an opportunity to be part of the Super Rugby side for the first time. Herbst's spot in the squad will be taken by Thembelani Bholi.
The coach has also added prop Justin Forwood and hooker Kurt Haupt to the travelling squad to make a full playing complement of 25.
"We are leaving tomorrow [Tuesday] and we are only adding to the squad Justin Forwood and Kurt Haupt. Also coming in is Thembelani Bholi and Pieter-Steyn de Wet at flyhalf," Davids confirmed.
"The only guy who drops out besides the injured Irne Herbst is Chrysander Botha."
With the unavailability of Herbst, compounded by the knee injury to Cameron Lindsay, who is out for 12 weeks, Davids will need to reshuffle his pack to find a replacement at lock.
"We have selected a squad of 25, and the thinking is that Tyler Paul is likely to get a start at lock and we will also look at a guy like Stefaan Willemse. We can also make a decision whether we want to get a guy like Bholi in. Our decisions will be based on the conditions – it will be very humid, very warm, so we will look at fitness," the coach said.
The Southern Kings squad will have a number of first-time tour travellers and Davids is hoping to use the opportunity for the squad to familiarise itself with travel ahead of their three-week tour to Australia in April.
"There are a couple of guys who will be going on their first tour. It's a short tour, but it's a good experience for them which can be preparation for Australia where we will spend three weeks. We are really looking forward to giving these guys an opportunity and building more experience in the squad," the coach said.
Southern Kings squad:
Forwards: Schalk Ferreira (captain), Martin Bezuidenhout, Thembelani Bholi, Chris Cloete, Justin Forwood, Ross Geldenhuys, Kurt Haupt, Chris Heiberg, Ruaan Lerm, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, Schalk van der Merwe, Michael Willemse, Stefan Willemse, Mzwanele Zito.
Backs: Masixole Banda, Lionel Cronje, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Malcolm Jaer, Berton Klaasen, Makazole Mapimpi, Waylon Murray, Louis Schreuder, Rudi van Rooyen, Luzuko Vulindlu.