The Southern Kings, currently under the guidance of caretaker coach Robbi Kempson, will take to the field against the Cheetahs with a mixture of experience and young up-and-coming players this weekend.
The team will be captained by rugby stalwart Darron Nell, who shared the captaincy role for the Southern Kings with Luke Watson and Andries Strauss in their Super Rugby debut season last year, with Ronnie Cooke – EP Kings Player of the Year last year – as vice captain.
Kempson said the team had been putting in the hours during their pre-season training and were keen to get out and play some rugby.
He said while the Southern Kings would not be playing Super Rugby themselves this year, they realised that these warm up matches were very important to the opposition teams.
“Obviously for the Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers these matches are an important part of their preparations for the Super Rugby season ahead and we want to ensure that we give them enough competition so that they have the best opportunity to prepare,” he said.
Nell said the mood among the players was high and that they were eager to take on the Cheetahs this weekend.
“There are a lot of youngsters and new faces in the team which has brought a new energy to the training. They have also had to learn a lot of new plays and lineout calls, but they’re really adapting well,” he said.
Nell said from a strength and conditioning point of view, the players were also in good form.
“While we did have a two and a half week break over Christmas, there were still training programmes that we had to follow, and all the guys tested well when they came back, and have worked really hard,” he said.
Nell said the players had also been working on a few new things, and said Kings supporters could expect to see some entertaining and exciting rugby.
“We have always had good support at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and would love to have the fans come out and support us on Saturday,” he said.
The Southern Kings play the Cheetahs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, the 25th of January. Gates open at 16:00 and the game kicks off at 17:00. Tickets are just R50 and are available through Computicket or the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium’s ticketing office.
The Southern Kings team: 1. BG Uys, 2. Dane van der Westhuyzen, 3. Pieter Stemmet, 4. Steven Sykes , 5. Rynier Bernardo, 6. Paul Schoeman, 7. Darron Nell (Captain), 8. Devin Oosthuizen, 9. Jaco Grobler, 10. George Whitehead, 11. Michael Killian, 12. Dwayne Jenner, 13. Ronnie Cooke (VC), 14. Sergeal Petersen, 15. Siviwe Soyizwapi, Replacements:, 16. Albe de Swardt, 17. Brenden Olivier, 18. Vukile Sofisa, 19. Stephan Zaayman, 20. Stephan Greef, 21. Thembelani Bholi, 22. Claude Tshidibi, 23. Sonwabo Majola, 24. Shane Gates, 25. Ntabeni Dukisa, 26. Brian Skosana
Bennie Geldenhuys (BG) Uys came through the ranks of the Leopards, playing for them at Under-18 and Under-21 from 2007 to 2009. He made his Currie Cup debut for the Leopards in 2010 against the Blue Bulls and became a first team regular over the next three seasons.
He played Varsity Cup rugby for NWU-Pukke between 2008 and 2010, which lead to his inclusion in the S.A. Students teams in 2008 and 2009.
He also played for a S.A. Barbarians (North) side that played against England during their 2012 tour of South Africa.
In 2013, Uys joined the Kings training group prior to the 2013 Super Rugby season, but was later released to the Leopards’ 2013 Vodacom Cup squad.
He played for the Leopards for the remainder of 2013 before joining the Eastern Province Kings for 2014.
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