Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings coach Deon Davids is hoping their home fans give them a boost when they open their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better draw, to start playing at home,” Davids said after naming his team on Tuesday.
“We know that Port Elizabeth is the friendly city, they always support games well, they love their sport and their rugby and we are going to need that.
“I can assure you that the players wearing the jersey will do their utmost best.”
Captain Steven Sykes said supporters could expect something special from the team.
“I think the guys have a bigger, never say die attitude. The guys want to play, we want to show everyone that we are here to play rugby and here to play as a team,” he said.
When naming his team, Davids said a late withdrawal meant they had not yet finalised the bench for Saturday’s game.
“We had a late withdrawal of Jacobie Adriaanse as a result of concussion, but we have two props who are training with us since last week, Louis Alberts and Liam Hendricks, who we will evaluate,” said Davids.
Davids said both props would be part of a scrum session in the afternoon and the coaching staff would consider various factors before making a decision on who would come on to the bench.
“We are excited to go. The players have worked really hard and we have tried to tick most of the boxes in preparation for this game and are looking forward to this challenge and being able to play Super Rugby.
“We have huge respect for the Sharks. If you look at the players involved in their warm-up matches, they have a good balanced squad, a mixture of experienced players with one or two youngsters coming through.
“They have a good pack of forwards and an exciting backline. The Sharks are a team that wants to dominate opposition with go forward ball from set pieces. It will be a challenge for us, and we will have to ensure that we are defensively organised,” he said.
Davids said he was not concerned about the tempo of Super Rugby.
“We have talked about the intensity and what we can expect. We have tried to simulate that in our training sessions and have trained at a very high intensity.
“It is a case of how well we have done things we could have done up to now,” he said.
Saturday’s clash kicks off at 15:00.
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 TBC, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Leighton Eksteen, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Charles Radebe