Southern Kings coach Deon Davids on Thursday named the first 23-man squad that will open the side’s 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign when they take on the Jaguares at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, 25 February.
Davids announced a strong Kings side which will be led by captain Schalk Ferreira.
The starting XV will include four new Vodacom Super Rugby caps in winger Makazole Mapimpi, centre Berton Klaasen and the lock pairing of Irne Herbst and Mzwanele Zito.
Davids stressed the importance of beginning the Kings’ campaign on a winning start.
“For us, it is important to go out there full of confidence in ourselves and what we can bring. We understand that we are playing against a quality side,” the head coach said.
“We will have to focus a lot on ourselves, in terms of what we want to bring and how we will do it. We are looking forward to expressing ourselves and seeing our experienced players as well as the young ones getting out there and making use of the opportunity of playing Vodacom Super Rugby.”
Ferreira, who will lead the team for the first time as the captain for the season, is expecting a hard scrum battle against the Jaguares.
“On a global spectrum Argentina has always had a strong scrum, even of late they are very good. The Jaguares team has the same structures,” Ferreira said.
“They will probably be the strongest scrummaging side in the competition. We have worked extra hard on it with Coach Deon Davids and Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot as well, who came on an on-and-off basis. Technically, we have put in the work on the scrums.”
Jaguares coach Raul Perez was also in attendance at the press conference.
The visiting coach indicated that he was expecting an improvement from his side’s this season.
“Our focus is on taking thing match by match, and right now we are focusing on the Kings. We will want to improve on the errors that we need to improve on. The biggest objective for the year for us is to play better throughout the tournament,” Perez said.
The match will kick-off at 17h15.
Southern Kings Team:
15. Chrysander Botha
14. Makazole Mapimpi
13. Berton Klaasen
12. Waylon Murray
11. Malcolm Jaer
10. Lionel Cronje (Vice Captain)
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Ruaan Lerm
7. Stefan Willemse
6. Andisa Ntsila
5. Mzwanele Zito
4. Irne Herbst
3. Ross Geldenhuys
2. Michael Willemse
1. Schalk Ferreira (Captain)
Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk van der Merwe, 18. Chris Heiberg, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Chris Cloete, 21. Rudi van Rooyen, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Luzuko Vulindlu.
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