Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids has announced that Shane Gates will captain the team to take on the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday after Steven Sykes was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
“Steven has a grade one ligament tear in his shoulder that will rule him out for a week or two.”
Davids said Sykes had picked up the injury during the game against the Blues at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last weekend, which was aggravated during the early week training.
“He took a bit of a bump against the Blues, and then on Tuesday he felt sore during training so we sent him for a scan, and unfortunately he’s not ready to go,” he said.
Davids has had to make four changes to his starting line up due to injuries.
Schalk Oelofse comes up from the bench to fill in for Sykes at lock, while JP Jonck takes up the position at left flank in place of Chris Cloete, who is out with a knee injury. Aidon Davis comes on at 8th man, in place of CJ Velleman, who is out with a broken thumb.
At the back, Davids has brought JP du Plessis on at outside centre to fill in for Stefan Watermeyer, who is out with a tendon injury to his foot.
Cornell Hess comes up onto the bench to fill the spot opened up by Oelofse starting.
Davids said the loss of Sykes, Velleman and Cloete was a big blow to the team but also meant opportunities for the other players.
“They have really been some of the workhorses in the team up to now, but it is also a great opportunity to see what players like JP Jonck and Cornell Hess can do coming in.”
“They understand the shoes they have to fill and the responsibility that comes with it and we’re confident they will step up to the plate,” he said.
Davids said the Cheetahs game was going to be tough, with the Cheetahs team selection showing a well balanced side. .
“They are desperate to put up a good performance having come off a tough tour,” he said.
“The Cheetahs are currently playing a brand of rugby that uses the width of the field and they like to attack from anywhere, where possible, so we will have to deal with that,” he said.
15. Jurgen Visser
14. Lukhanyo Am
13. JP du Plessis
12. Shane Gates (C)
11. Luzuko Vulindlu
10. Elgar Watts
09. James Hall
08. Aidon Davis
07. Thembelani Bholi
06. JP Jonck
05. JC Astle
04. Schalk Oelofse
03. Tom Botha
02. Edgar Marutlulle (VC)
01. Sti Sithole
16. Martin Ferreira
17. Justin Ackerman
18. Jacobie Adriaanse
19. Cornell Hess
20. Stefan Willemse
21. Ntando Kebe
22. Louis Fouche
23. Leighton Eksteen
The game will be aired on Supersport 1 on Saturday 14 May at 17:05 South African Time.
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