Announcing that Old Muirite Darron Nell had been named captain of the Southern Kings squad to take on the MTN Lions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday 26 July, 2013, in the first of two promotion relegation matches for the right to play Super Rugby until 2016, Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons expressed his opinion that the Lions are NOT a better team than the Southern Kings.
Nell was called up after Andries Strauss broke his left hand during practice on Friday last week.
“Darron has done a tremendous job for us over the years in a leadership role, whenever he has captained a side he has done so successfully, and after giving the matter careful consideration we feel he is the best man to lead the side in this big game,” said Solomons.
Ronnie Cooke will take over the leadership of the back line as vice captain. “He has, throughout the season, had a very influential role and has played nearly every single game for us, and we are very fortunate to have someone of that ilk taking leadership of the backs,” ciontinued Solomons.
“Andries was the one player who was not considered because of his broken hand, but it has presented a great opportunity for Shane Gates to come up to the starting fifteen,” said Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons.
Solomons said there was a fair amount of consistency in the team that had been selected, with many pairings having played together throughout the season. The Front pack remains relatively unchanged, with Schalk Ferreira, Bandise Maku and Kevin Buys, while loose trio Wimpie van der Walt, Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht and Cornell du Preez will be looking to make a significant impact in play.
According to Solomons the promotion relegation matches are unprecedented as Super Rugby has never hosted a promotion/relegation series of matches before.
“This match is critical to both franchises, because the consequences of these matches are extremely serious. The winner of these two matches remains in Super Rugby and the side that loses is out of Super Rugby,” said Solomons.
Head coach Matt Sexton said; “I think the general feeling we have is excitement, it’s a huge occasion, it’s like a test match or world cup final. The guys are looking forward to the occasion,” he said.
Sexton said he did not want to give too much away about the game plan. “The times where we have been successful on the score board are times where we’ve been very clinical in our approach,” he said.
When asked if discipline was high on the agenda it was significant to see every single player at the press conference nodding their heads.
Supporters are requested to wear black to show their support on Friday.
Ackermann has included all three of the players returning from other franchises after their loan stints during this year’s Super Rugby tournament. Elton Jantjies, Franco van der Merwe and Martin Bezuidenhout will start for the MTN Lions.
The Lions will also welcome back Hendrik Roodt (German Measels) and Micheal Bondesio (Calf) from injury/illness. Warren Whiteley will also return to the team.
Only three players on the Lions team do not have Super Rugby Experience.
Southern Kings Team to play the Lions at NMB Stadium on Friday 26 July 2013 at 7:10 pm:
- Starting Lineup: 15. SP Marais, 11. Marcello Sampson, 13. Ronnie Cooke (Vice Captain), 12. Shane Gates, 14. Hadleigh Parkes, 10. Demetri Catrakilis , 9. Shaun Venter, 1. Schalk Ferreira, 2. Bandise Maku, 3. Kevin Buys, 6. Cornell du Preez, 4. Darron Nell (Captain), 5. David Bulbring, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht
- Replacements: 16. Charl du Plessis , 17. Hannes Franklin, 18. Steven Sykes, 19. Devin Oosthuizen, 20. Nicolas Vergallo, 21. George Whitehead, 22. Waylon Murray
MTN Lions team:
- Starting Lineup: 15. Ruan Combrinck, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Dylan des Fountain, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Hendrik Roodt, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg.
- Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Ruan Dreyer, 18. Willie Britz, 19. Warwick Tecklenburg, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Marnitz Boshoff, 22. Chrysander Botha
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