Planet Rugby

Preview: Kings v Waratahs

03rd May 2013 10:15

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Kings: Fallen flat since returning from their overseas tour

The Kings have not yet lost to an Aussie team this season and will be looking to keep that record intact when they host the Waratahs in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

In their maiden Super Rugby season, the tournament newcomers have beaten the Force, Rebels and drew with the table-topping Brumbies.

Whilst the Kings have squashed their pre-season billing as easybeats, they have struggled since returning home from a successful trip of Australasia - suffering back-to-back losses to the Bulls (34-0) and Cheetahs (26-12).

They will also be looking to get back on the try-scoring sheet this weekend, after going tryless in their last two outings.

Yet despite languishing near the bottom of the table, the hosts will feel confident knowing they've scored at least two tries in each of their three matches against Aussie opposition this year.

The Kings also have try-hungry teenage wing Sergeal Petersen back in their starting line-up. After missing the Kings' past two games because of a groin strain, Petersen will add extra bite to the home team's attack for what promises to be a fiery showdown.

It remains to be seen though if the young speedster's return will be the difference between winning and losing, as the Waratahs bid to keep their faint hopes of finishing in the top six alive.

They currently occupy 11th spot on the overall log and sit third in the Australian conference - 12 points adrift of the second-placed Reds.

The men from Sydney have made a steady recovery from a poor start to the season, having knocked over the Blues and Chiefs before taking the Bulls by the horns only to fade in the final 10 minutes on the Highveld.

Last week's 30-19 defeat in Pretoria means the Waratahs have now lost their last eight matches on the trot in the Republic - dating back to 2009 - but have plenty of game-breakers of their own and boast plenty of Wallabies to help reap some much-needed rewards.

Prediction: Playing the Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium proved to be a tough task for visiting teams before the Bulls came to town. The vocal home supporters will try get under the Waratahs' skin, but we think the hosts are giong to need a lot more than their boisterous crowd to pull this one off. Waratahs by 10!

The teams:

Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Siyanda Grey, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Rynier Bernado, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Will Skelton, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Tom Kingston.

Date: Saturday, May 4
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17:05 (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

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1Waratahs1658
2Crusaders1651
3Sharks1650
4Brumbies1645
5Chiefs1644
6Highlanders1642
7Hurricanes1641
8Western Force1640
9Bulls1638
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PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621
New Zealand Conference
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PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637
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PosTeamPPts
1Sharks1650
2Bulls1638
3Stormers1632
4Lions1631
5Cheetahs1624