Kings in a battle for pride

2014-09-27 00:00

OUTSIDE CENTRES

Paul Jordaan

The former Grey College pupil has had a good Currie Cup. The inclusion of André Esterhuizen at inside centre has seen Jordaan shift to outside centre where he is more dangerous. With plenty of pace to burn, he has linked up well with Esterhuizen. The latter’s ability to break the line and generate go forward has opened up more space for Jordaan and the outside backs. Lionel Cronje has also added to that attacking dimension and it would be good to see Jordaan with more space and more ball in hand.

VS

Tim Whitehead

The former Sharks and Western Province centre has been plying his trade for a struggling EP this year. After missing out last year due to a broken arm and only playing in the Currie Cup, he fell out of favour at the Sharks and packed his bags. He is an exciting centre who can be likened to All Black Conrad Smith. He is solid on defence. He will have his hands full containing Esterhuizen and Jordaan, but his centre partner Shane Gates is no stranger to tough clashes and the pair will bring stability to the Kings backline.

FLYHALVES

Lionel Cronjé

The journeyman seems to have found a home at King’s Park and was instrumental in the Sharks’ win over the Bulls last weekend. He has been the catalyst for the Sharks’ attack due to his own running tendencies. Speaking to the media earlier in the week, Cronjé highlighted that he likes to take on defensive lines. He looks set to hold onto the flyhalf jersey for the rest of the competition. Expect Cronjé to kick for territory, but if there is a chance to run the ball, he will not hold back.

VS

Gary van Aswegen

The former Western Province pivot will call EP home for the next few years after joining the side before the Currie Cup. Injuries plagued the exciting flyhalf during his three-year stint with Province, but he has a lifeline with his new side. Van Aswegen is similar to Cronjé in that he likes to test defenders and looks to run and distribute the ball when he can. Van Aswegen will have to kick for territory against the Sharks but expect to see the Kings hold onto the ball once they are in the Sharks’ half.

LOCKS

Marco Wentzel

The old man in the Sharks squad dominated the Bulls in the lineouts last weekend, cutting out many attacking opportunities for the Pretoria side. He is a asset to the Sharks in the absence of players like Pieter-Steph du Toit and his work at the set-piece will be crucial in the rest of the tournament. He will work hard today as the Kings will try keep ball in hand and run whenever they can. Wentzel will also be looking to steal some of their lineout ball which is his speciality.

VS

Darron Nell

Just a few years younger than Wentzel, Nell is as experienced. Having started his career with the Cheetahs in 2003, Nell has also spent time in France before joining the Kings in 2010. He is a proficient lineout jumper, but will have a busy afternoon with Wentzel competing in the air. Nell will be used as a big ball carrier to get the Kings on the front foot. He also captains the side in the absence of Luke Watson and will have to psych up his charges for what will be a tough clash.

PROPS

Dale Chadwick

The versatile loosehead prop has finally got some consistent game time under his belt and has made some great contributions to his team. The Westville old boy admitted Sharks struggled against the Bulls at scrumtime and put it down to a learning curve with new binding laws. Chadwick faces a stiff test against Bok veteran CJ van der Linde. The former Bok is still a dominant force and Chadwick will have to front up. He will also look to get through a good amount of work by hitting the rucks and making his tackles.

VS

CJ van der Linde

The 75-Test Springbok joined the Kings this year on a one-year contract after plying his trade for a number of South African teams and Leinster in Ireland. Although his form has suffered in recent years, he still has a lot to offer. The Sharks know he is a powerful scrummager and the Kings will be banking on him to give them some ascendency. Seeing how the Bulls hurt the Sharks there, Van der Linde may be looking forward to scrum time. He will also need to up his work rate in what promises to be a fast-paced game.

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