Planet Rugby

Preview: Stormers v Kings

31st May 2013 08:45


Demetri Catrakilis Southern Kings SR 2013

Cape Town return: Demetri Catrakilis

The Stormers will protect a proud record when they face tournament newbies the Kings in Cape Town on Saturday.

Despite losing in last year's semi-final to the Sharks, the Stormers have not lost a game during the league stages of the competition in Cape Town since June 2011 when they went down to the Bulls.

After finishing at the top of the South African conference in 2011 and 2012, the Stormers have not been at their best this season.

They are currently in 11th position on the table with 34 points from 12 matches.

The Kings are in 13th position on the table - on 24 points from 12 games - but they will be no pushovers.

They will still be highly motivated as they are yet to win one of their South African derbies.

And Stormers coach Allister Coetzee revealed that his side will not underestimate their visitors.

"I think the big thing is the way the Kings play with attitude and also a big desire," he said. "No matter who is out and who is in, they remain a dangerous side. They have had a few hiccups, but they have still continuously played well and performed well.

"We are under no illusions that this is going to be a helluva tough game, and we have got to pitch up this weekend. It is going to be physical, and we need to play a smart kicking game and make sure we win that battle, but it starts with the set-piece."

Kings pivot Demetri Catrakilis returns to Newlands for the first time since he left Cape Town at the end of last season.

Although he never got a look-in for the Stormers, last season turned out to be a massive one for the Kings fly-half, as he helped Western Province to win the Vodacom and Currie Cup competitions.

He will be keen to show Coetzee that it was a mistake to let him leave the Cape Town-based outfit.

With the wet weather set to hit Cape Town this weekend, Kings boss Alan Solomons, who coached the Stormers from 1999 to 2001, predicted a tough forward battle.

"I have lived in Cape Town and when you get a series of fronts it can get really bad, so I think the Stormers will be concentrating on a solid kicking game and play for territory," he said.

Solomons felt the tactical kicking duel would be a major factor in the match.

"We have worked hard on our kicking game and up front it will be critical for our pack to front up. I have no doubt they will," he added. "Most of them have played together in many games this season and we have every confidence they will be up for the challenge."

PredictionWith rain predicted and both sides relying heavily on their defensive game to get the necessary results, don't expect this match to be an entertaining spectacle. Home-ground advantage should prove decisive. Stormers to win by seven points.

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (capt), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Deon Fourie, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Bernado, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Shane Gates, 22 George Whitehead.

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