THE Southern Kings have named only two foreigners in their squad for Saturday’s historic Super 15 clash against the Western Force in Port Elizabeth, and neither will start.
Kenyan lock Daniel Adongo and New Zealand fullback Hadleigh Parkes are among the reserves for the match.
No8 Luke Watson will captain the team, which ranges from inexperienced players to journeymen, in their debut in arguably the toughest rugby competition on the planet.
Kings coaching director Alan Solomons and coach Matt Sexton included five foreigners in the expanded 35-man squad, which is technically against the rules.
While Kings management and the South African Rugby Union continue to discuss the matter, Sexton was careful not to inflame the situation by breaching the current agreement of two foreigners in his first squad.
Watson and hooker Bandise Maku are the two Springboks in the team, while only locks Steven Sykes and David Bulbring, props Kevin Buys and Schalk Ferreira, and centres Ronnie Cooke and Andries Strauss have previous Super Rugby experience.
Joining these seasoned campaigners are a string of youngsters such as 18-year-old wing Sergeal Petersen, 24-year-old flank Wimpie van der Walt and 22-year-old fullback SP Marais.
Although the Force are arguably the weakest team in Australia, and perhaps the worst of the 14 participants in last season’s tournament, their experience at this level will give them a huge advantage.
“The Kings do not mind the label of underdogs. We want to go about our business quietly and make sure we represent ourselves properly and that we are competitive and play to the best of our ability,” Watson said.
“It is true that some members of our team have not played Super Rugby but every team and every player needs a starting point in their career.”
The Kings also denied reports that they had spied on a Western Force training session.
The Sport Arena website said a source within the Force claimed they had stumbled across a man secretly filming their training session at Victoria Park High School on Tuesday. The informant said the players were collecting balls for the kickers at the end of their session when they spotted a man in the bushes. When they investigated, the man took off with video equipment and a tripod.
Solomons said it was not the Kings’ policy to spy on their opposition. The Force declined to comment.
With George Byron