Thu, 7 Mar, 2013
The Southern Kings’ dream start to Vodacom Super Rugby against the Aussie Western Force two Saturdays ago will be consigned to history when The Sharks arrive in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
The Southern Kings could hardly have asked for a tougher baptism into the world of South African derbies and things could get seriously tough when The Sharks, Vodacom Super Rugby runners-up in 2012, meet them in Port Elizabeth this Saturday.
The Sharks, of course, used Port Elizabeth as a secondary base in the late 1990s, and have never lost there.
They have only played there twice and won both, against the Chiefs in 1998 and the Brumbies in 1999.
Kings head coach Matt Sexton said, “We will definitely be looking at improving our level of ball retention. If you consider that during the Western Force game we made in excess of a hundred tackles in the first half of the game, which, if you have to take those sort of statistics into every game, sooner or later you’re going to run out of petrol, so we want to make sure we retrieve the ball and hold onto it.”
Apart from Andries Strauss, who played 22 Vodacom Super Rugby matches for The Sharks, the Kings boast another former KZN stalwart in Steven Sykes, who featured in 69 matches at this level for the Durbanites between 2007 and 2012.
Unfortunately injury has robbed a third former Shark, Luke Watson, of the opportunity to lead his new team against the side for whom he made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut as a fresh-faced 19-year-old way back in 2003.
He will start on the bench. The match takes place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth at 7.10pm.
Tickets are priced from R30 to R110 and can be purchased at any Shoprite/Checkers store or online at www.computicket.com