The EP Kings will enter their clash against the Leopards with form and confidence counting in their favour. While the Leopards have battled to maintain consistency in their performances this season, the defending Absa Currie Cup First Division Champions come off six successive victories. Similarly to the Pumas, the Kings’ high try-scoring rate and respectable defence allowed them to finish among the top two sides in the competition, meaning the Leopards will have to produce a solid all-round performance to secure their first final appearance since 2008.
The Leopards won the first round-robin match between the teams, while the Kings emerged victorious in the second. But interestingly, the Kings won all three matches against the Potchefstroom team last year, which included a convincing 50-27 victory in the semifinal.
The forward battle, and particularly the breakdowns, are expected to be key areas in the match, but the teams also have exciting backs, who have made their presence felt this season. Both coaches named unchanged starting teams for the clash, which they hope will offer continuity in selection and winning momentum. The Kings will look to the likes of experienced flyhalf George Whitehead, wing Michael Killian, fullback Scott van Breda and lock Steven Sykes to lead by example as they attempt to book their fourth successive final berth. The Leopards, meanwhile, will be hoping that star wings Luther Obi and Edmar Marais, centre and place-kicker Adriaan Engelbrecht and forwards SJ Niemand and skipper Brendon Snyman are on form, as they have been key figures in guiding the team to the semifinal. Engelbrecht, however, will have to be back on song with the boot this week after failing to slot over a single goal-kick last week, as every point counts this week.
EP Kings: Scott van Breda; Michael Killian, Ronnie Cooke, Tiger Mangweni, Brian Skosana, George Whitehead, Dwayne Kelly, Tim Agaba, Mpho Mbioyzo, Devin Oosthuizen, Steven Sykes, Darron Nel (Captain), KP du Plessis, Albe de Swardt, Luzo Gcoboka. Replacements: Bobby Dyer, Ross Geldenhuys, Wayne van Heerden, Stefan Willemse, Kayle van Zyl, Ntabeni Dukisa, Wayne Stevens.
Leopards: Danie Dames; Luther Obi, Dumisani Matyeshana, Adriaan Engelbrecht, Edmar Marais, Warren Gilbert, Johan Laker, SJ Niemand, Morné Hanekom, Philip de Wet, Brendon Snyman (Captain), Peet van der Walt, Elardus Venter, Jacques Vermaak, BG Uys. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Joe Smith, Stoof Bezuidenhout, MB Lusaseni, HP Swart, Tiaan Dorfling, George Tossel.
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/10/ep-kings-vs-leopards-semi-final/