Port Elizabeth – Injuries have forced EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer to make several changes to the team to take on the Free State Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth in a Currie Cup match on Saturday.
Centre Tim Whitehead suffered a calf strain in last week’s clash against the Blue Bulls which has resulted in a few positional switches in the backline.
Ronnie Cooke shifts from wing to outside centre and Siyanda Grey, back from illness, will play on the wing.
Spencer has also handed Ntabeni Dukisa a start on the other wing, while Siviwe Soyizwapi replaces Scott van Breda at fullback.
“We only wanted to make one change to the backline, but Tim’s calf strain meant we had to shuffle a few positions,” Spencer said.
“We have also replaced Scott van Breda with Shakes Soyizwapi at fullback, but I do not want to go into the reasons for that in the media.”
Van Breda, whose goalkicking duties will be taken over by flyhalf Gary van Aswegen, is on the bench.
Among the forwards, hooker Edgar Marutlulle and lock David Bulbring are out with injuries and have been replaced by Martin Ferreira and Darron Nell respectively.
In another change, Tom Botha returns to the front row, with CJ van der Linde on the bench.
Ferreira, who has been on loan to Border, gets his first call-up of the season and will be looking to make an impact.
“Martin has been working hard and deserves an opportunity, while we will use (hooker replacement) Albe de Swardt off the bench,” Spencer said.
Regarding Van der Linde dropping back to the bench, Spencer said the decision had been made by forwards coach Shaun Sowerby.
“That’s a decision from Shaun and I back it all the way,” Spencer said.
“Tom’s a really good workhorse and having had a week off, it’s good to give him a chance.”
EP Kings team: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Siyanda Grey, Ronnie Cooke, Shane Gates, Ntabeni Dukisa, Gary van Aswegen, Kevin Luiters, Paul Schoeman, Devin Oosthuizen, Shaun McDonald, Darron Nell, Steven Sykes, Tom Botha, Martin Ferreira, Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: Albe de Swardt, CJ van der Linde, Steven Cummins, Stefan Willemse, Tobie Botes, Dwayne Jenner, Scott van Breda. – Sapa