Nell leads young Kings
Nell leads young KingsSHARE
The Southern Kings, currently under the guidance of caretaker coach Robbie Kempson, will take to the field against the Cheetahs on Saturday with a mixture of experience and youth.
The team will be captained by stalwart Darron Nell, who shared the captaincy role for the Southern Kings with Luke Watson and Andries Strauss in their Super Rugby debut season last year.
Ronnie Cooke, the EP Kings' Player of the Year last year, is the vice-captain.
Kempson said the team had been putting in the hours during their pre-season training and were keen to get out and play some rugby.
He said while the Southern Kings would not be playing Super Rugby themselves this year, they realised that these warm-up matches were very important to the opposition teams.
"Obviously for the Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers these matches are an important part of their preparations for the Super Rugby season and we want to ensure that we give them enough competition so that they have the best opportunity to prepare," he said.
Nell said the mood among the players was high and that they were eager to take on the Cheetahs this weekend.
"There are a lot of youngsters and new faces in the team which has brought a new energy to the training. They have also had to learn a lot of new plays and line-out calls, but they're really adapting well," he said.
Nell said from a strength and conditioning point of view, the players were also in good form.
"While we did have a two and a half week break over Christmas, there were still training programmes that we had to follow, and all the guys tested well when they came back, and have worked really hard," he said.
Nell said the players had also been working on a few new things, and said Kings supporters could expect to see some entertaining and exciting rugby.
"We have always had good support at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and would love to have the fans come out and support us on Saturday," he said.
Southern Kings: 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Dwayne Jenner, 11 Michael Killian, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 Devin Oosthuizen, 7 Darron Nell (captain), 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Pieter Stemmet, 2 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements – from: Albe de Swardt, Brenden Olivier, Vukile Sofisa, Stephan Zaayman, Stephan Greef, Thembelani Bholi, Claude Tshidibi, Sonwabo Majola, Shane Gates, Ntabeni Dukisa, Brian Skosana.
Date: Saturday, January 25
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jason Jaftha