This Saturday Demetri Catrakilis will be returning to a predicted cold and wet DHL Newlands for the first time since he left Cape Town at the end of 2012. Last season turned out to be a massive one for the Kings flyhalf, as he helped DHL Western Province to win the Vodacom and Absa Currie Cups. This season has been equally succesful for the Southern Kings flyhalf who has ammassed 122 points this season – the 8th highest and 18 points behind the Stormer’s Joe Pietersen.
Southern Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons announced a number of changes for the team today.
Andries Strauss will captain the Kings as Luke Watson is still out due to Flu. Young Dale and Academy player, Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi comes on at at 14 for Siyanda Grey who is out with a hamstring injury. Darron Nell comes up for Steven Sykes and assumes the role of vice captain. The sole Kings try scorer in the Cheetahs game, Nicolas Vergallo, will start at scrumhalf and Shaun Venter will move to the bench.
Jacques Engelbrecht will start at eighthman, Wimpie van der Walt moves to 7 and Cornell du Preez to 6. Devin Oosthuizen comes on to the bench and is joined by Hannes Franklin in the place of Virgile Lacombe, who has a slight rib injury and is being rested.
Although the DHL Stormers, SA Conference champions in 2011 and 2012, have not been at their very best this season, they realise the Kings can cause serious damage to an already disrupted campaign this weekend.
The Kings are currently in 13th position on the log. They did not have the best outing against the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend and are still aiming for their first-ever win in a local derby.
To make matters worse for the Kings, they will be without their regular captain and most experienced player, Luke Watson, on Saturday. A bout of flu has ruled him out of the match against the DHL Stormers, a team he represented 62 times in total.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee warned his team not to underestimate the visitors to Cape Town this weekend.
“I think the big thing is the way the Kings play with attitude and also a big desire,” said Coetzee, who hails from the Eastern Cape and coached and captained Eastern Province in his playing days.
“No matter who is out and who is in, they remain a dangerous side. They have had a few hiccups, but they have still continuously played well and performed well.
“We are under no illusions that this is going to be a helluva tough game, and we have got to pitch up this weekend. It is going to be physical, and we need to play a smart kicking game and make sure we win that battle, but it starts with the set-piece.”
With a big break coming up for players not selected for the Springbok team (to be announced after the game in Cape Town) this match could present a do or die oppportunity for the Southern Kings to snatch that local derby win and gain the upper hand on the Stormers when they return to the Throne Room on 6 July after the Kings travel to Loftus Versveld to meet the Bulls on 29 June 2013.
Southern Kings Team to Play the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday 1 June 2013:
- Starting Line-up: 15. SP Marais, 11. Marcello Sampson, 13. Ronnie Cooke , 12. Andries Strauss (Captain), 14. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nicolas Vergallo, 1. Schalk Ferreira, 2. Bandise Maku, 3. Kevin Buys, 6. Cornell du Preez, 4. Darron Nell (Vice Captain), 5. David Bulbring, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht.
- Replacements: 16. Hannes Franklin, 17. Grant Kemp, 18. Rynier Bernado , 19. Devin Oosthuizen, 20. Shaun Venter, 21. Shane Gates, 22. George Whitehead.
DHL Stormers Team:
- Starting Line-up: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Deon Fourie, Siya Kolisi, De Kock Steenkamp, Eben Etzebeth, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff.
- Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Gebrandt Grobler, Don Armand, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.
PS: Look out for the special Southern Kings Fanta Brown (brown frothy stuff) 12 packs in your nearest liquor store – thanks for the beers, SAB!