Preview: EP Kings v Golden Lions

Date published: September 23 2016

The Golden Lions know five league points are non-negotiable when they face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Lions have to win their two remaining fixtures to reach the Currie Cup semi-finals and in that regard a match against the Kings, who still haven't won a single game this season, makes their job a bit easier.

While the home side have been a mess so far, the Lions have been boosted by the return of two Springboks in hooker Malcolm Marx, who is back from Springbok duty, and prop Julian Redelinghuys who has recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained in the Springbok win over Argentina in Nelspruit in August.
Other changes upfront as part of the rotation system are Bobby De Wee at lock, Ruan Ackermann and Ruaan Lerm and among the backs Dillon Smit, Howard Minizi, Koch Marx and Sylvian Mahusa.

The Kings, with just a solitary point, have nothing to play for other than the usual line of "pride", which in this case doesn't mean much. They have quality in all departments this season and their defence will once again be tested against an opponent who needs to secure a bonus-point victory to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot.

The last time these two teams met: The EP Kings secured a dramatic 35-35 (halftime 20-13) draw courtesy of a last minute try against the Lions in their Currie Cup qualifier at Pirates Rugby Club in Johannesburg. Lock Juan Jonck crashed over in the 80th minute to level the scores while EP Kings’ flyhalf Garrick Mattheus missed his conversion which would have given the Kings’ an impressive come from behind victory. Mattheus and his opposite number Shaun Reynolds both ended with 15 points apiece courtesy of three conversions and three penalties while both teams recorded four tries in an entertaining clash.

Prediction: It's difficult to see anything else than a resounding win for the Lions in what should be a high-scoring affair. Lions by 20 plus.

Eastern Province Kings: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Alcino Izaacs, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Brandon Brown, 6 Luke van der Smit, 5 Sebastian Ferreira, 4 David Antonites/Tazz Fuzani, 3 Pieter Stemmet, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Justin Forwood
Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Vukile Sofisa, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Vince Jobo, 20 Vian van der Watt, 21 Lungelo Gosa, 22 Johan Greyling

Golden Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza 14 Koch Marx, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Antony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt,9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ruaan Lerm , 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith (c), 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 JP du Preez, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Andries Coetzee

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17:10 local (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Egon Seconds
TMO: Christie du Preez