Preview: EP Kings v Sharks

Date published: August 28 2015

The Eastern Province Kings will be keen to build on their recent improvement when they host the Sharks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Kings are still winless after three rounds of matches but after conceding 50 points in their season opener against the Golden Lions, their performances in recent weeks have been encouraging.

They lost 15-13 against the Pumas last weekend, after delivering a spirited performance in their 33-25 defeat to the Sharks in Durban two weeks ago.

That match could have gone either way as the Kings held a 25-23 lead midway through the second half.

After that victory, the Sharks did well in their clash against the Golden Lions' but lapses in concentration cost them dearly and they eventually suffered a 31-16 defeat.

Sharks assistant coach Sean Everitt wants his side to improve on their previous effort against the Kings.

“We didn’t execute our plan against them well enough in the first round, so while it’s important to have a plan, it’s how you arrive on the day: the energy you display and your accuracy in execution that really counts," he said.

“The Kings have improved as the tournament has gone on. They had a shaky start against the Lions, but played well against us and were probably a bit unlucky to lose to the Pumas last weekend, so they are no easy prey down in Port Elizabeth.

“We need to improve on what we’ve done over the last three weeks and we have to take the lessons learned out of the game against EP in Durban two weeks ago.”

Kings captain and lock Steven Sykes is available to play this weekend after he received two yellow cards in their clash against the Pumas last Friday in Port Elizabeth.

He appeared before a disciplinary committee earlier in the week, where it was decided to impose no further sanctions. Elsewhere Luke Watson is back from injury to captain the side, while Thembelani Bholi starts alongside him in the back row.

Prediction: Although the Sharks are playing away, the will have too much firepower for their hosts. Sharks to win by six points!

The teams:

EP Kings: EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Schalk Ferreira, 17 Edgar Marutlulle, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Hansie Graaff

Sharks: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Daniel du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Wandile Mjekevu, 22 Garth April.

Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17:05 (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Jacques Nieuwenhuis
Television match official: Christie du Preez