The Kings have named Andries Strauss as captain, while Luke Watson starts from the bench, for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs.
The Kings have named Andries Strauss as captain, while regular skipper Luke Watson starts from the bench, for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Kings director of Rugby, Alan Solomons, said the decision to bench Watson had been made following a number of factors.
“Just to put perspective on it, Luke sustained a bad ankle injury at the end of last season and missed the last couple of games,” he explained.
“He worked very hard, he is extremely professional and diligent, to get his fitness up to speed, which he did by the last pre-season game against the Griquas.
“Unfortunately in the first game, against the Western Force, Luke sustained a nasty throat injury where he fractured a bone in his throat that made things extremely difficult in that it partially blocked his airway and made training impossible.”
Watson has been replaced at number eight by Jacques Engelbrecht but Solomons said he would definitely come off the bench against the Cheetahs.
“With the Cheetahs match up-country, there is the altitude factor and in discussions with the conditioning and medical staff, it was decided it would be more appropriate for him to come off the bench against a team who play at pace and with a high tempo,” he added.
Engelbrecht's inclusion was one of several changes made to the team which lost to the Bulls 34-0 last weekend weekend.
Wing Sergeal Petersen remained sidelined with a groin injury, giving Siyanda Grey a chance on the wing, along with Michael Killian, who has recovered from injury.
Marcello Sampson is being rested and Ronnie Cooke, who was doing duty on the wing for the past few matches, returns to outside centre in place of Waylon Murray, who is amongst the replacements.
Besides Watson, the only other change in the forwards saw Rynier Bernardo replacing David Bulbring in a rotational move.
Virgile Lacombe is also on the bench, having recovered from his rib injury and having come off a strong showing in the second half of the Vodacom Cup game against the Sharks XV this past weekend.
Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Rynier Bernado, 4 Steve Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi.
Date: Saturday, April 27
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa),Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)