Cape Town - Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids named his team to take on the Cheetahs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday in what will be the first-ever SA derby fixture in the PRO14.
Among the forwards the only changes made to the starting 15 that did duty against Edinburgh last weekend come at lock where the regular starting pair of Bobby De Wee and Stephan Greeff are restored after being afforded an extra week of rest and recovery by the coach.
Their return should serve to bolster a Southern Kings scrum which, according to the official Optastats, rates among the best in the championship with an overall success rate of 96 percent on their own ball this season.
In the backline there's a changed back three with wings Michael Makase and Anthony Volmink coming back and Yaw Penxe moving from number 14 into the fullbacks jersey.
Makase makes a welcome return from injury whilst Volmink was unavailable for selection last weekend due to personal reasons.
There are changes at halfback too where Oliver Zono replaces Kurt Coleman at flyhalf and Rowan Gouws comes in for Rudi van Rooyen at scrumhalf.
The team will once again be captained by Schalk Ferreira but Kings fans will be pleased to see the name of squad skipper Michael Willemse among the replacements. Willemse has been out of action for a while after having suffered a groin injury.
New names on the bench are those of prop forwards Johan Smith, on loan from the Leopards, and Dayan Van Der Westhuizen who is on loan from the Bulls.
Despite coming close on a few occasions the Kings are still searching for their first win after 11 matches in this year's competition but coach Davids feels his charges aren’t too far off a maiden victory.
"Firstly I think we're due a little luck and, secondly, players naturally seem to lift their game a notch or two when it's a local derby. My main message to the team this week has been to not let the emotion of the occasion get to them and to show patience when on attack. We must also endeavour to play in the right areas of the park and keep our mistakes to a minimum," he said.
It's extremely unusual for there to be competitive rugby action in South Africa during the month of January but while the summer heat may make for more difficult playing conditions it's likely to be more pleasant for spectators than the usual chilly winter afternoon or evening and the Kings are encouraging their fans to heed the call to #kickoffsummer and turn out to support them in this first (of three) SA derby PRO14 fixtures against the Cheetahs.
The match kicks off at 17:00 on Saturday and gates open at 15:00.
Tickets are available online at www.ticketpros.co.za and also at all TicketPro outlets.
15 Yaw Penxe, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Martin du Toit, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Oliver Zono, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Harlon Klaasen
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Niel Marais, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Zee Mkhabela, 23 AJ Coertzen