Planet Rugby

Preview: Kings v Stormers

05th July 2013 06:50

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Steven Kitshoff Stormers Kings

Stormers charger: Steven Kitshoff

The Kings host the Stormers, in what is a must-win game for the men from Cape Town, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Although their form has been inconsistent this year, the Stormers still have a slim chance of reaching the play-offs and will be focussed on claiming victory - and a try-scoring bonus point in the process - against the tournament's basement dwellers.

It will not be easy, however. Despite their lowly position, the Kings pride themselves on their defence and the Stormers can expect a big battle from the competition's debutants.

The Stormers are involved in a battle with the Crusaders, Cheetahs, Waratahs, Blues and Sharks for the two remaining positions in the play-offs.

The Capetonians are currently in 10th spot on the table with 42 points from 14 matches and must win this clash and their last match against the Bulls and hope some of those other teams with play-off ambitions suffer defeats.

The Stormers put in a good display in claiming a much-needed 28-3 win over the Cheetahs in Cape Town last weekend. But despite that victory Stormers coach Allister Coetzee warned that his side would not be complacent when they face the Kings.

"I was obviously very pleased with the Cheetahs game, and it gives one confidence, but our plan has always been to win these last three games; that's where the focus is," he said.

Interestingly, tighthead prop Ross Geldenhuys, who was a replacement against the Cheetahs last week, has returned to the Kings, after a brief loan spell with the Stormers.

There is a concern that his knowledge of the Stormers' playing systems could prove harmful to the Cape side this weekend.

"We have a couple of playing systems and we know he could have valuable information," said Coetzee.

"It's something that we're working on but teams do analyse you (opponents) any way. We can't stop what's coming but our task to cope with the situation on the playing field."

Although the Kings have little to play for, they will not make things easy for their visitors, as proven in their previous encounter in Cape Town in Round 16.

On that occasion, the Stormers won 19-11 in atrocious weather conditions in Cape Town. The Kings are currently languishing in 14 position in the standings with 22 points from 14 matches. That's just two points clear of the bottom-placed Highlanders, so they will also be determined to notch a win, in order to avoid taking the tournament's wooden spoon.

Prediction: Although the Kings will put up a brave fight, the Stormers will be hungrier for the win as they have plenty to play for.It won't be pretty - Stormers to win by 10 points but not get their bonus-point!

Make your predictions!

Super head-to-head: Kings centre and captain Adriaan Strauss is one of the hardest men in the game who doesn't' take a backward step to any opponent. He faces a formidable advisory in Damian de Allende who was one of the Stormers' best players in the win over the Cheetahs last weekend. Both men enjoy the physical side of the game, so don't be surprised if there are some huge collisions in midfield this weekend.

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

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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