DYNAMIC teen wing Sergeal Petersen looks set to start for the Southern Kings against the Cheetahs in what promises to be an action-packed pre-season friendly at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).
Petersen, who was frustratingly sidelined by injury for most of last season, was operating on all cylinders on Monday when the Kings had a gruelling training session in preparation for their opening game.
The flyer dived his way into the hearts of fans last season when he crossed for two tries in the Kings’ victory over the Western Force in their opening Super Rugby match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Kings were put through their paces by caretaker head coach and former Springbok Robbi Kempson and former All Black star Carlos Spencer, who is in charge of the backline.
Spencer, who played 35 Tests for New Zealand, will be hoping to impart some of his expertise to the Kings’ backline this season.
“Get the ball quicker through the hands and don’t snatch at it,” were some of his instructions directed at the Kings backline during training.
An expected return by Petersen will add extra pace to the Kings back division who will be looking to start the season on a high before their remaining warm-up games at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against the Lions (February 1) and the Stormers (February 7).
It is believed that Shane Gates and Rynier Bernardo, who have been at the Cheetahs trying to make the cut for the Super Rugby squad, will be available for the Kings on Saturday. It also seems likely that Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi will start at fullback while Gates and Ronnie Cooke appear to be the likely centre pairing against the hard-running Free Staters.
Kempson and Spencer drilled the players during a physical session as the Southern Kings prepared for a fiery contest against a formidable Cheetahs outfit.
Newcomers at training were scrumhalf Jaco Grobler (Leopards), lock Stephan Greef (Lions), centre Dwayne Jenner (Border), hooker Tabbie du Plessis (Free State) and hooker JC Oberholzer (Leopards). Tabbie du Plessis is the younger brother of the Springboks stars Jannie and Bismarck.
The Kings will be hoping to prove in the warm-up games that they deserve to be promoted into an enlarged eight-team Currie Cup Premier Division when SA Rugby bosses meet in Cape Town on January 31.