Port Elizabeth - If there is one man who will know what the Southern Kings should expect from the Border Bulldogs when the two teams meet in a friendly match at East London’s Buffalo Stadium on Saturday, it is flanker Onke Dubase.
The 27-year-old has been working hard during Super Rugby pre-season, in the hope of cracking the nod for the final Southern Kings squad for the competition.
Dubase was called up to the Kings by head coach Deon Davids after the talented loose forward impressed with numerous man-of-the-match accolades for the Bulldogs in their Currie Cup First Division campaign in 2016.
“I felt privileged and blessed to be part of the Southern Kings squad, and knew that I had to work hard to stay where I wanted to be - Super Rugby,” Dubase told the Kings’ official website.
“The team is looking sharp, especially in terms of the team environment. The guys are really clicking and you find that some of the guys who joined at a later stage are also adapting very well. We do have that brotherhood in us.”
After having been a member of the Border Bulldogs team since 2010, Dubase is excited and emotional about the prospect of facing the East London-based side for the first time as an opponent.
He is wary of what the Southern Kings can expect from the team he led last year.
“They are going to bring it,” he said.
“They never shy away from physicality. The backline is just blitz and they are going to come hard. Most of them do believe that they are supposed to be playing Super Rugby. They will bring it so they can show that they do deserve the chance as well.
“It will be quite an emotional game for me, my first time playing against them. I have to bring it as well. They know how I play, and I know how they play, so it will be very interesting to see how we go about doing things.”
Dubase is aware that his performance against the Border Bulldogs could go a long way in securing a spot in coach Davids’ final Super Rugby squad.
“It will all depend on how I do against the Border Bulldogs. I just have to pitch up for that game, no questions asked. It’s going to be a very intense game. I’ll be very basic, just sticking to the team structures and not do anything out of the ordinary. I will just have to trust my team and the structures,” he said.
Dubase, meanwhile, was selected in the Kings starting team for Saturday's clash.
15 Coyi Banda, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Johann Tromp, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Ntabeni Dukisa, 9 Ricky Shroeder, 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Onke Dubase, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Chris Heiberg, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Justin Forwood, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Mzwanele Zito, 21 Tyler Paul, 22 Andisa Ntsila, 23 Johan Steyn, 24 Garrick Mattheus, 25 Waylon Murray, 26 Makazole Mapimpi, 27 Siyanda Grey, 28 Chrysander Botha