The Eastern Province Kings were dealt a cruel blow when captain Luke Watson was ruled out of their encounter with the Stormers, scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Watson took a blow to his shoulder in the 12-16 loss to the Bulls last week and has failed to recover.
That has forced coach Alan Solomons to reshuffle his loose forwards for the visit by the team that topped the South African conference last year.
Jacques Engelbrecht will move from flank to number 8, with Conrad Britz promoted off the bench to flank.
Darron Nell takes over the captaincy armband from Watson,
Solomons said he was unable to supplement his loose forward reserves from the other teams in the region â€• the SWD Eagles and Border Bulldogs â€• as they are scheduled to play the Lions in George on Tuesday and would require all the resources they could muster.
“We’ve got no more loose forwards left (in PE), so I have not drafted anybody in on the bench,” Solomons told Rugby365.
Asked about his goals for the game, Solomons said it was all about “the opportunities for players in the region to show what they are capable of doing”.
“It is a really, really tough opponent that we are playing … one of the top Super Rugby teams,” he said – pointing out that apart from the absence of Springboks Schalk Burger and Juan de Jongh the Stormers were at full strength.
“It is a big challenge for the team, but also a big opportunity for the players.”
“Can they make the step up to play against opposition of this quality?”
“And that is really what this game is about,” continued Solomons..
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Tiger Mangweni, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Jaco Bekker, 12 Wayne Stevens, 11 Norman Nelson, 10 Shane Gates, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Conrad Britz, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Clint Newland, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Jaco Engels.
Replacements – from: Bobby Dyer, Zane Killian, Andre Schlechter, Wayne van Heerden, Reynier Bernardo, Thembelani Bholi, Dustin Jinka, Earl Rose, Dwayne Jenner, Kieran Goss.
Date: Saturday, 11 February
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Article source: http://sport.iafrica.com/rugby/news/777845.html