Preview: Kings v Chiefs

Date published: March 11 2016

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The Kings face a backlash from the Chiefs as the former champs kick off their overseas tour at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

The Kings will be hunting for their first win since 2013 and the Chiefs are aiming to avoid their second successive defeat to a South African side for the first time since 2008.

The visitors' discipline let them down in Hamilton last week when they suffered a 36-32 upset to the Lions, conceding a plethora of penalties which cost them dearly one week after clinching a 27-21 opening round win over the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Kings displayed some fighting spirit in the first half when they hosted the Sharks in Port Elizabeth in Round One, but they faded after the break and ultimately conceded six tries in a 43-8 trouncing. 

Deon Davids' men displayed shocking defence in their encounter with the Durban-based franchise, missing 27 tackles which allowed the Sharks to cut through easily and bag a bonus-point victory.

The Kings are far from the defence-orientated outfit they were back in 2013 and the Eastern Province men did well under the charge of defence coach Omar Mouneimne, but their debut season-strength has since withered and will be their biggest concern against the two-time champions.

The Kings' were solid at the set-pieces when they faced the Sharks, and if they can pull off a decent performance in this department on Saturday, they can hault the New Zealanders' attacking momentum.

The Chiefs play with quick ball and possess a strong ball-in-hand approach, and their offload count  (15 per game) was ranked highest following the first two rounds of the competition, with their clean break-count coming in third, meaning the Kings' defence will have to be on point if they want to prevent a Chiefs try-fest.

Former Stormers defence coach Jacques Nienaber has been assisting the Kings with their defence, and the weekend's match will test if the teachings of the SARU Mobi-unit member has borne fruit.

The last time these teams met:

These teams have only met once in Super Rugby, their only encounter being back in 2013 in Round Five in Port Elizabeth, when the Chiefs secured a 35-24 away win after running in four tries to the hosts' two.  

Players to watch: 

Louis Fouche will be the man to watch for the Kings after returning from injury. The 26-year-old's massive boot can contribute greatly to the Kings if the Chiefs were to fall into a spell of ill-discipline again, and his ability to cross the gain line will also be an asset.

The Chiefs' Seta Tamanivalu's power, speed, footwork and fend make him a definite standout in any clash. 

Team news:

Deon Davids has made a few changes to his side that lost to the Sharks at home, bolstered by the return of injury-cleared players. Davids' front row will be beefed up with prop Jacobie Adriaanse, who suffered a concussion in the pre-season warm-up match against the SWD Eagles, and returns at tighthead to replace Tom Botha who moves down to the bench. At hooker Edgar Marutlulle comes in for Martin Ferreira. In the backline Stefan Watermeyer and Louis Fouche come in at outside center and fly-half respectively to gain their first start as the only changes to the backline, while Kevin Luiters, Jaco van Tonder and Martin Bezuidenhout comes in to add some experience to the bench.

Head coach Dave Rennie has made numerous changes to his starting line-up that narrowly lost to the Lions at FMG Stadium.The front row will feature new force with Mitchell Graham, Nathan Harris and Siate Tokolahi packing down for their first starts of the season. In the second row Johan Bardoul replaces injured Brodie Retallick and partners with Michael Allardice. In the backline Brad Weber gets his first start of the 2016 season at scrum-half and Glen Fisiiahi will earn his first start on the right wing after an impressive debut show.  

Form:

The Kings come from a bye last weekend and went down 43-8 to the Sharks in the opening round at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, while the Chiefs succumed 36-32 to the Lions in Round Two. The Waikato side started their campaign with a terrific win at the Crusaders in Christchurch, running in four tries to two to come out on top 27-21 in Christchurch.

Predictions:

The Chiefs will be desperate to make a comeback and avoid defeat to a second South African team in as many weeks. The New Zealand side will snipe through if given the chance, and the Kings, although bolstered with their returning players, will struggle to keep the Chiefs at Bay. Chiefs by 20.

Previous results:

2013: Chiefs won 35-24 in Port Elizabeth

The teams:

Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Matutlule, 1 Schalk Feirreira
Replacements: 16 Sithembiso Sithole, 17 Martin Bezuidenhout, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jaco van Tonder

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Glen Fisiiahi, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Johan Bardoul, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Atu Moli, 19 James Tucker, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Sam McNicol

Date: Saturday, March 12
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 15:05 local (13:05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Rodney Bonaparte
TMO: Johan Greeff

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