EP Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg has welcomed the return of experienced skipper Luke Watson to the team for their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (August 29).
The veteran flank missed the Kings’ game against the Pumas last weekend, which EP lost 15-13, and Janse van Rensburg is hoping his return introduces a sense of calm on the field as they chase their first win this season.
Watson suffered a “dead leg” in the Durban clash against the Sharks, but has recovered now to be included in the starting line-up. He has replaced the injured Jacques Engelbrecht, with Thembelani Bholi being rewarded with a fine performance last week taking over the No 7 jersey.
“Luke is an exceptional leader and only now that I have had the opportunity to work with him do I realise what he can contribute,” Janse van Rensburg said. “He has a feel for the game and a really good understanding of what to do, of what will work, and it’s really good to have him back.”
Regular vice-captain Tim Whitehead remains on the sidelines due to concussion, while, in a rotation move, prop Lizo Gqoboka gets a start in the front row with Schalk Ferreira on the bench.
Janse van Rensburg acknowledged they faced a tough challenge against a Sharks side who will be as motivated to win as the home team.
“We have had opportunities to finish things off in our previous two matches, which we didn’t take, and it is not going to get any easier,” the Kings coach said. “But we know we have to get the basics right and try to be more accurate in our approach.
“Every week we go out there and make sure we give our best effort, and that is what we will be doing on Saturday. We will focus on our processes and if we make sure we go out there and give our best, everything else will look after itself.”
The EP Kings team is (1-15): Lizo Gqoboka, Martin Ferreira, Tom Botha, Steven Sykes, Cornell Hess, Luke Watson (captain), Thembelani Bholi, Tim Agaba, Enrico Acker, Karlo Aspeling, Luther Obi, JP du Plessis, Ronnie Cooke (vice-captain), Siyanda Grey, Scott van Breda.
Replacements (16-22): Schalk Ferreira, Edgar Marutlulle, Simon Kerrod, Stefan Willemse, Paul Schoeman, Dwayne Kelly, Hansie Graaff.
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