A much changed, strengthened Currie Cup team was announced by EP Kings Head Coach, David Maidza, this afternoon, following the return of a number of Super Rugby players to the squad.
Only three players retained their starting positions from the team that played against Border Bulldogs last week, as the team gear up for a major clash against top of the log leaders, the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
“I think we owe ourselves a good performance, especially against the Pumas. We have a new team with very good, mature individuals in the side, which, from here on in, should lift the team.”
There are only three players who remain in the starting line up from last week in the team captained by Darron Nell, who takes over from Mpho Mbiyozo, who misses the game due to injury.
The forwards are bolstered by the return of Hannes Franklin at Hooker, in place of Albie de Swardt who moves to the bench and Brendan Olivier returns at Loosehead Prop in place of Marzuq Maarman. Lizo Gqoboka keeps his place at Tighthead Prop.
Nell is joined by fellow Lock, Steven Sykes, while Devin Oosthuizen returns at flank with Tim Agaba. Cornell du Preez takes up the familiar spot of eightman, despite missing training yesterday and today due to a bit of flu.
Nicolas Vergallo returns as Scrumhalf, in place of Yusuf “Boela” Abrahams, who moves to the bench while George Whitehead takes over from Marlou van Niekerk at Flyhalf.
Marcello Sampson moves onto Left Wing, while Michael Killian moves to Right Wing in place of Sergeal Petersen, who moves to the U21 squad.
Maidza said other Super Rugby players, including Shane Gates and Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi, would also be joining the U21 side to bolster the team.
Tiger Mangweni remains at Inside Centre and holds onto the Vice Captaincy, while Ronnie Cooke comes on as Outside Centre in place of Siyanda Grey, who moves to the bench.
Scott van Breda finishes the starting line up, taking over from Ntabeni Dukisa, who also moves to the bench.
Maidza said the team was looking forward to the game against the Pumas, but did not see it as a make or break game.
“The season as it has panned out, the Pumas are the log leaders, and if they carry on in the same manner, they will have a home final.”
“What we have to do is put a little doubt into their heads as to how that final goes. From here on in, I would like to see this team progress well, and get into that final as well,” he said.
EP Kings Team to Play Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday 16 August 2013:
- Starting Lineup: 15. Scott van Breda, 11. Marcello Sampson, 13. Ronnie Cooke, 12. Siyabonga Mangweni (V/C), 14. Michael Killian, 10. George Whitehead, 9. Nicholas Vergallo, 1. Brenden Olivier, 2. Hannes Franklin, 3. Lizo Gqoboka, 6. Devin Oosthuizen, 4. Darron Nell (Captain), 5. Steven Sykes, 7. Tim Agaba, 8. Cornel du Preez
- Replacements: 16. Albie de Swartd, 17. Enoch Mnyaka, 18. Rynier Bernardo, 19. Stefan Willemse, 20. Yusuf “Boela” Abrahams, 21. Ntabeni Dukisa, 22. Siyanda Grey
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