The Southern Kings have named an unchanged starting line-up for their penultimate Super Rugby match against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
Kings coach Alan Solomons’ lone change to the 22-man squad sees veteran lock Steven Sykes return to the bench following an injury lay-off, meaning Rynier Bernardo is left out.
Sykes will be looking to get game time under his belt with the Super Rugby promotion/relegation play-offs against the Golden Lions coming up at the end of July.
Young winger Sergeal Petersen is unavailable for selection, but is expected to make an appearance in the Eastern Province Currie Cup side against the Griffons on Saturday.
The Round 19 clash will be the final game in Port Elizabeth for the Kings, who are yet to beat a South African opponent in their 2013 campaign.
Meanwhile, Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has made one change to his starting XV which beat the Cheetahs 28-3 last weekend.
Don Armand comes into the side at openside flanker to replace the injured Siya Kilisi who took a blow to the ankle leaving him out of the tie which can be seen live on Sky Sports 4 from 4pm.
Spingbok prop Pat Cilliers and Rynhardt Elstadt both return from injury to take their place on the bench for the trip to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The inclusion of Cilliers means Ross Geldenhuys is left out of the match-day 22 while scrum-half Nic Groom re-joins the squad to replace Dewaldt Duvenage.
Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (capt), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Darron Nell, 4 David Bulbring, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Grant Kemp, 17 Hannes Franklin, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Shane Gates.
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (capt), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
What they said…
Southern Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons
“We are looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd and we are determined to put in a good performance.
“We were very disappointed with the effort against the Bulls, not that there was any lack of commitment, but the players just did not play well.”
Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee
“I know, from experience, that it’s best to forget about our win over the Cheetahs and we’ve put in the hard yards ahead of the Southern Kings game.
“We still want to improve our log position and keep building on what we’ve been working on during June. I was obviously very pleased with the Cheetahs game, and it gives one confidence, but our plan has always been to win these last three games; that is where the focus is.”