EP Kings head coach, Carlos Spencer, has made five changes to the starting lineup that will meet DHL Western Province at Newlands this weekend.
Spencer announced that Steven Sykes will once again captain the side as regular skipper, Luke Watson, is still recovering from a concussion.
Changes to the forward pack include Lizo Gqoboka, who will return to the side at loosehead prop in place of BG Uys, with Shaun McDonald coming off the bench on at Flank, rotating with Thembelani Boli who moves to the bench.
At the back, Dwayne Jenner makes his Currie Cup debut at inside centre, with Spencer moving Shane Gates to the bench, opting to rest him a little following a high work load.
“We decided to give Dwayne a start as he has been working hard over the past few weeks in training and hopefully he can bring a bit of physicality to our defence as well,” he said.
Tim Whitehead makes his return at outside after a week’s absence from the team due to a knock he took to the knee during the match against the Blue Bulls. Tim’s return sees Ronnie Cooke moving back to wing opposite Siviwe Shakes Soyizwapi, with Siyanda Grey moving onto the bench.
Tim is rested and refreshed and ready to go and Ronnie gives 100% no matter where you put him,” he said.
George Whitehead retains his spot at flyhalf, with Spencer opting to rest Gary van Aswegen for another week following a groin strain that saw Van Aswegen out of contention for the Lions match.
On the bench, CJ van der Linde returns in place of Charles Marais, after recovering from a calf strain.
Spencer said he was expecting a more physical game against Western Province than against the Lions.
“I think Western Province will bring more physicality especially in the air and up front. The will be a threat on attack and will put pressure on us defensively,” he said.
Spencer said the focus would be on holding onto the ball more and put pressure on the defence, as the team was being forced to tackle, which was placing strain on the players.
“If you have to make 250 to 260 tackles a game, it will take its toll, that’s a lot of tackles to make. We just have to play a little but more with ball in hand. I believe that we are fit enough, we’ve put in the hard work so it’s not as if we’re not fit enough we just have to be patient,” he said.
“I think we’ve improved. It’s just a matter of gradually getting better and better, we are gaining confidence as time goes on so hopefully we keep taking a step forward each week and eventually get that win,” he said.
The team that will be taking on the DHL Western Province are:
- Starting Lineup: 1. Lizo Gqoboka, 2. Edgar Marutlulle, 3. Tom Botha, 4. David Bulbring, 5. Steven Sykes, 6. Shaun Macdonald, 7. Paul Schoeman, 8. Aidon Davis, 9. Kevin Luiters, 10. George Whitehead, 11. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 12. Dwayne Jenner, 13. Tim Whitehead, 14. Ronnie Cooke, 15. Scott Van Breda
- Reserves: 16. Mike Van Vuuren, 17. Cj Van Der Linde, 18. Thembalani Bholi, 19. Stefan Willemse, 20. Tobie Botes, 21. Shane Gates, 22. Siyanda Grey
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