The Southern Kings have opted for consistency when they take on the Vodacom Bulls in their penultimate Vodacom Super Rugby match of the 2017 season at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Southern Kings coach, Deon Davids, on Thursday announced his team for the Saturday’s encounter and has made only one injury enforced change to the team that beat the Jaguares in Buenos Aires last weekend. The match in Pretoria will kick-off at 17h15.
Lock Wilhelm van der Sluys, who has been a consistent performer for the Southern Kings since joining the side earlier in the season on a loan agreement from English Premiership side, Worcester Warriors, has been sidelined after sustaining a concussion in last weekend’s match in Argentina.
The lanky Van der Sluys will be replaced in the starting XV by Lubabalo Mtyanda, who slotted in with aplomb as a replacement at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani last weekend.
“Wilhelm van der Sluys is a very special player, on and off the field, and a core member of the team. His injury is a big loss for the team,” Davids said about the injury that has forced the change to the team.
“But I also must say that a player like Giant Mtyanda, who will replace Wilhelm, really put up his hand and gave a good performance. We really hope he can continue with that into our next game.
“We are happy we did not have any other injuries and we have some solid combinations that we can work with.”
Mtyanda’s spot on the bench will be filled by the equally capable Mzwanele Zito, who has held his own in previous appearances for the Southern Kings earlier this season and also in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
There are no other changes to the team.
“The rest of the team remains the same,” the head coach confirmed.
“We are happy to be able to keep our changes to a bare minimum in an effort to remain consistent and continue with the momentum we are building as a team.
“It is important that we finish the season on a high note, and consistency will go a long way in ensuring that we retain the best possible combinations and continue to play the high standard of rugby we have set for ourselves.”
The head coach indicated that his side was expecting a tough encounter against a determined Vodacom Bulls outfit.
“The Bulls showed what they are capable of in last week’s match against the Sharks,” Davids said.
“The Bulls will always remain one of the top sides in South African rugby. There will never be an easy match against the Bulls, especially when they are playing at home at Loftus Versfeld.
“We will need to do our basics right and ensure that we are clinical, particularly in the set pieces – which is a strong area for the Bulls. We have had a good week of preparation in Sun City this week, where focus was on improving on areas where we felt we could have been better last week, while also ensuring that we work even harder on those areas we felt we did well. Saturday’s match promises to be an exciting occasion with both sides eager to get a good result going into the last week of the competition.”
The Southern Kings team to take on the Vodacom Bulls is:
15 Malcolm Jaer
14 Wandile Mjekevu
13 Berton Klaasen
12 Luzuko Vulindlu
11 Makazole Mapimpi
10 Lionel Cronje (capt)
9 Louis Schreuder
8 Andisa Ntsila
7 Tyler Paul
6 Chris Cloete
5 Lubabalo Mtyanda
4 Irne Herbst
3 Ross Geldenhuys (v/c)
2 Michael Willemse
1 Mzamo Majola
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19. Mzwanele Zito, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Yaw Penxe.