Banda earns Super Rugby start

Date published: March 2 2017

Southern Kings coach Deon Davids has announced his side to face the Sunwolves at the Singapore National Stadium on Saturday.

Davids has made two changes to the starting XV that took on the Jaguares in their Super Rugby opener last week at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

A concussion to lock Irne Herbst against the Jaguares has forced the team to go into the match against the Sunwolves with a new second row pairing. Tyler Paul, who came off the bench last week, replaces Herbst and partners up with Mzwanele Zito.

In the backline, Masixole Banda gets an opportunity to start at full-back, replacing Chrysander Botha in the number 15 jersey.

In an effort to gain experience in the competition, Davids has made some rotational changes to the bench. Kurt Haupt will get a place in the 23 while prop Justin Forwood will also get an opportunity as a back-up prop.

Pieter-Steyn de Wet comes in as back-line cover The match will provide an opportunity for the trio to gain their first Super Rugby caps.

The versatile Thembelani Bholi has also been included on the bench where he will provide cover for both lock and flank.

"We have thought that in order to build on our Vodacom Super Rugby experience, we would rotate on the bench, bringing in Kurt Haupt, Justin Forwood and Pieter-Steyn de Wet to gain that experience with the rest of the campaign in mind," Davids said.

The coach is happy with the manner in which the side has adapted to conditions in Singapore.

"The guys are adapting to conditions up until this point in time It is very humid and there was a bit of a thunderstorm on Wednesday which influenced the surface of the field at training on Thursday – it was wet and slippery, but the guys came through The guys are building slowly into Saturday’s game," he said.

Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c)
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Luzuko Vulindlu

Date: Saturday, March 4
Venue: Singapore National Stadium, Singapore
Kick-off: 18:55 local (10:55 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds, Akihisa Aso
TMO: Minoru Fuji

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