Preview: Southern Kings v Stormers

Date published: March 10 2017

The Kings will hope to keep their winning momentum going when they host the Stormers at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

After their first away victory since 2013 the Kings will be over the moon, even it was against the Sunwolves. The Kings scored four tries in the clash and will be brimming with confidence now that they are back home.

The visitors will be full of confidence themselves after a two-match winning streak against their old rivals the Bulls and then managing to overcome a rampaging Jaguares side last weekend. That said, the Stormers haven’t won three games on the bounce since the beginning of 2015.

The Stormers currently top the Africa 1 conference after their two straight wins and are three points above the next placed Cheetahs on five points. A win this weekend will create a great buffer and distance themselves from their competition.

Despite their big win in Singapore the Kings only collected four points which puts them at the bottom of the Africa 2 Conference. They will need to start picking up points if they are to avoid the bottom of this competitive group.

The Stormers have all the historical cards going into the game having won all three meetings between these sides including a 28 point victory in the last one. In fact, the Kings have never beaten a fellow South African team, losing all 15 such meetings and failing to pick up even a losing bonus point.

The Stormers will try to utilise their excellent phase play this weekend as they have scored six tries after four or more phases of play so far this campaign, more than any other team in the competition.

Kings head coach Deon Davids spoke about the rotations in his side and how they need to use their opportunities well on Saturday.

“The guys understand that they have to grab their opportunities with both hands. It’s all about performing in the Kings jersey,” Davids told News24.

“Ricky (Schroeder) has been knocking on the door, and I’m glad he’s getting this opportunity now. He will have to make it worthwhile.

“I’ve rotated Luzuko Vulindlu and Berton Klaasen for our centre combination. I feel that Waylon Murray, with this experience, at number 13 will be good for us.”

The last time these teams met: Scotland international Huw Jones starred in the Stormers 52-24 routing of the Kings after scoring four tries in the fixture in Cape Town. He was joined on the score board by winger Leolin Zas who scored an impressive hat-trick on his own and fly-half Brandon Thomson. The Kings scored three tries through centre Stefan Watermeyer, Wandile Mjekevu and Malcolm Jaer. Jones kickstarted his impressive try tally 43 second into the game after collecting a grubber that went awry and dotted down. He scored his second 15 minutes later after grabbing a slippery ball before evading several Kings defenders scoring his second and would have his hat-trick by just after half-time.

Players to watch: The inclusion of Chris Cloete will give the Kings a massive boost this weekend. The flanker has won five turnovers so far this season, only one player has won more. Cloete is also yet to concede a turnover. The flanker is a strong runner and should make an impact in the collision area.

Bongi Mbonambi has been on some thrilling form in the Stormers jersey of late. The big number two has powered through the opposition a few times with his pistons for legs while being pin-point accurate on the line out as well. Seven of which were successful last week.

Team news: Eben Etzebeth will lead the side with regular captain Siya Kolisi being rested for this match. With Kolisi absent the elusive Sikhumbuzo Notshe will start in the seven jersey. Bjorn Basson will make his Stormers debut after signing with the Cape Town side from the Bulls and star rookie Damian Willemse could get a shot off the bench.

Kings head coach Deon Davids has made five personnel changes. Flankers Chris Cloete and Thembelani Bholi make their first starts of the season while Irne Herbst comes into the second-row. Their experience and skill should make an immediate impact in the Kings pack. Scrum-half absentees mean Rick Schroeder starts at nine while Luzuko Vulindlu is at inside centre alongside Waylon Murray replacing Berton Klaasen.

Form: The Southern Kings look to be gaining confidence despite their 39-26 loss to the Jaguares. They might have conceded close to 40 points but the Kings scored two great tries of their own and showed a lot more structure. Which helped them enormously against the Sunwolves in Singapore after scoring four tries to two to win 37-23.

The Stormers are on a hot-run of form after beating Northern rivals the Bulls in Round 1 and then overcoming a strong Jaguares outfit a week later. The Capetonians blitzed the Bulls 37-24 in Cape Town scoring five tries in the process and then beat the South American outfit 32-25 scoring four tries.

Prediction: The Kings are looking like a far better side than last year but shouldn’t be any trouble for the away side. Stormers by 17.

Previous results:

2016: Stormers won 52-24 in Cape Town
2013: Stormers won 24-12 in Port Elizabeth
2013: Stormers won 19-11 in Cape Town

The teams:

Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Rick Schroeder, 8 Riaan Lerm, 7 Themelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c)
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Willem van der Sluys, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Berton Klaasen

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris Van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse

Date: Saturday, March 11
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 15:05 local (13:05 GMT)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)