Planet Rugby

Kings make one change

21st May 2013 16:30

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SP Marais Southern Kings 2013

Starting at full-back: SP Marais

The Southern Kings have made just one change to their starting XV ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash with Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth.

Full-back SP Marais has fully recovered from injury and takes his place in the last line of defence in place of George Whitehead, who drops to the bench.

Jacques Engelbrecht also comes back onto the bench in place of Devon Oosthuizen, after his recovery from an ankle strain against the Waratahs, while Rynier Bernardo joins the replacements for Daniel Adongo, as a rotation.

Luke Watson, who had once again been selected as captain following his outstanding performance against the Highlanders, is battling a bit with a head cold, but is expected to be fit for Saturday's game.

Vice-captain Andries Strauss has also been declared fit and will start in midfield.

The experienced centre left the field during the Highlanders game on May 11 with a shoulder injury, but the two-week break thanks to the Kings' bye weekend has allowed the player to return to full fitness.

"Andries has come through sessions yesterday and today, which was a much more challenging one," said Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons.

"He is in perfect nick and ready to take his place in the team.

"George has done an excellent job for us, but it's also good to have SP back in the line-up," added Solomons.

"(Watson) has been advised to rest for a day or two and will be back by Thursday," Solomons said.

While the Kings have registered wins over Australian and New Zealand opposition, they have not managed to break their duck against the SA franchises.

Solomons acknowledged that the Cheetahs were one of the in-form sides in the competition, but said they were looking forward to a tough match on Saturday.

"This will really be a fantastic challenge for us and a real opportunity, although we know how well the Cheetahs are doing, being second in the SA conference and seventh overall," Solomons said.

The Kings, whose remaining matches are all against SA teams, are desperately trying to avoid ending last in the SA conference to avert a promotion-relegation playoff match against the Lions.

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

Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO:Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)

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