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Preview: Kings v Force

22nd February 2013 15:20

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Luke Watson Southern Kings 2012

Leader: Luke Watson

Port Elizabeth will host its first ever Super Rugby match when the Kings take on the Western Force in the weekend's final encounter.

So much has been said about the Kings' participation in this year's competition but the time for talking is now well and truly over.

From now onwards, it's what ever they achieve on the field that matters and this encounter presents what many observers feel is the Kings' best opportunity to win a game in this year's competition.

While most of the home side's players are relatively unknown, outside the borders of South Africa, they have Springboks like captain Luke Watson, Bandise Maku and Andries Strauss in their ranks.

These players, as well as Steven Sykes, will be expected to lead from the front against the Force who lost narrowly to the Rebels last week.

The Force did not disgrace themselves in that clash and even though they are the away team this weekend will be the overwhelming favourites as the Kings failed to convince in pre-season defeats to the Lions and Griquas.

Former Waratahs coach Michael Foley is at the helm of the Perth-based side who are getting used to life under former captain David Pocock who is now at the Brumbies.

Amongst their backs, keep an eye on young centre Kyle Godwin who impressed with some deft touches in their opener against the Rebels while Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes will lead the charge up front.

They say desperate times calls for desperate measures and even at this early stage of the competition this appears to be the case for the tournament's newbies. This after a man was caught filming a Force training session earlier in the week.

The Kings have strenuously denied that they were involved in these shenanigans but stranger things have happened in the game. This incident could be the reason that the Force's team has not been announced yet.

Prediction: The Kings are going into this match like lambs to the slaughter and don't expect them to offer too big a challenge for the men from Perth. Force to win by 20 points!

The teams:

Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson (c), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 David Bulbring, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Daniel Adongo, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Johan Herbst, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.

Western Force:15 Will Tupou, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements:16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Junior Rasolea.

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)

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