Port Elizabeth - In a week where the Southern Kings have been dealing with an increase in injuries, head coach Deon Davids has been forced to make three changes to his team that will take on the Brumbies in a Super Rugby encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Following the side’s closely contested 35-32 win over the Sharks last week, casualties on the injury list included instrumental loose-forward Chris Cloete (concussion) and fullback Masixole Banda (hamstring).
A late withdrawal at training on Thursday morning forced lock Wilhelm van der Sluys to be withdrawn from participating in this weekend’s match with a groin injury.
Stefan Willemse, who has been on the bench for the Southern Kings’ last two matches, will wear the No 6 jersey as a replacement for Cloete, while Namibian international Chrysander Botha will start at fullback in Banda’s place.
Lubabalo Mtyanda will don the No 5 jersey as a replacement for Van der Sluys.
Mzwanele Zito will slot in on the bench as lock cover, while Thembelani Bholi makes a return to the team as loose-forward cover.
“I think we had a good week, but unfortunately we lost a bit of continuity with some of our players out with injury. However, I am happy for the guys that will now get an opportunity, and they are quite eager to get this chance. It is up to them to show that they can step up,” Davids said.
“Cloete’s performances speak for themselves - he is a quality player. It will be difficult to get the exact same performance from any other player, but different players bring different attributes. In this case, Stefan Willemse, combining with Andy (Andisa Ntsila) will bring something different.
“Van der Sluys has been a key man for us in the lineout. We have used Tyler Paul there before and also Giant (Lubabalo Mtyanda) is an experienced guy. I don’t think there will be too many distractions, I think they can pull it off.”
Saturday’s clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is scheduled for 19:30.
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Alshaun Bock, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Stokkies Hanekom