Bok boost for Kings
Bok boost for KingsSHARE
The Southern Kings have made several changes to their team to take on the table-topping Brumbies in their Super Rugby outing in Canberra on Friday.
Springbok Waylon Murray has been named at outside centre in his first start of the season, having missed the earlier rounds as a result of a knee injury he sustained last year.
After almost a year on the sidelines he played off the bench in the last two outings – against the Crusaders and Hurricanes.
Now back to full fitness the 2007 Bok, who played three Tests that year, will start at No.13, with Ronnie Cooke moving to the left wing.
Marcello Sampson returns from injury (bruised heel) to take his place on the bench.
Argentinean scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo starts at No.9, with Shaun Venter (who suffered a bruised ankle against Hurricanes) being 'rested' on the bench.
Veteran hooker Hannes Franklin starts at No.2, with Bok Bandise Maku on bench.
Grant Kemp starts at tighthead prop, with Kevin Buys on the bench.
Rynier Bernado starts at No.5 lock, with David Bulbring on the bench.
Cornel du Preez returns from injury (tight hamstring) and starts at No.8, with Jacques Engelbrecht on the bench.
Southern Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons said the the changes were a combination of player injuries, as well as rotating the players due to the intensity of the competition to date.
"Waylon has come back from a long injury and hadn't played for a year. We've built him up to play, giving him 30 minutes against Border in the Vodacom Cup, 30 minutes against the Crusaders and 55 minutes against the Hurricanes, and felt that the time was right to let him start," said Solomons.
"Ronnie Cooke has played exceptionally well for us, he has been one of the leading lights in our team," he said.
"He's played a lot of his rugby when he was overseas in top 14 at left wing, so he moves into that position," he said.
Solomons said Shaun Venter had been moved onto the bench for the game, with Nicolas Vergallo given an opportunity to start at No.9. He said that, while the scan had been clear on Venter's ankle, there were concerns over the fact that he had not been able to practice with the team during the week.
"Shaun's ankle is a concern, as he will not be able to train until the captains run and the decision to place him on the bench is a dual thing.
"For one, with Shaun being unable to practice all week, we thought that it was better to let Nicolas Vergallo play, and two, it gives Nicolas a chance to start. He has come off the bench for a number of games and I think it will be positive for him to get the opportunity," he said.
Looking at the forwards, Solomons said a number of rotations had come into effect.
"In the forwards we thought that the time had come to give Grant Kemp an opportunity to start. Kevin Buys moves to the bench as he has the ability to cover both tighthead and loosehead," he said.
"At hooker, Bandise Maku has played every game as a starter. We felt we would like to give Hannes Franklin a start in the game and do a rotation there."
Commenting on Daniel Adongo's absence from the list, Solomons said: "Daniel had an opportunity to start against the Crusaders; he came off the bench against the Hurricanes as a loose forward, with Steven Sykes being out, but with Steven back he takes his position at lock and as vice-captain."
Solomons said Rynier Bernardo had also been selected to start, with David Bulbring taking the bench.
"I think this is a great opportunity for Rynier. He has come off the bench the last two matches, and this is a great opportunity to see how it goes starting as a lock.
"If we go onto the loose forwards, Cornell has had a week's rest and his hamstring is fine, so he comes on at eight and Wimpie van der Walt stays at open side, giving Jacques Engelbrecht a break, taking the bench."
Southern Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Elric van Vuuren.
Date: Friday, April 5
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.40 (10.40 SA time; 08.40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)