Port Elizabeth - The Kings have picked Luke Watson
on the bench for their Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons, told the Keo.co.za website
that Watson will be eased back into Super Rugby from the bench. He played in the starting team in last week's 34-0 loss to the Bulls.
"After a bad ankle injury last season, Luke worked extremely hard to get
his fitness up to speed," Solomons said.
"Then he suffered the throat injury against Western Force and that made
fitness training impossible for a while."
Watson suffered a blow to the larynx in the Kings' opening match in February, and returned to action for the Kings last
week against the Bulls after having completed a full game for Eastern Province in the
Vodacom Cup a week earlier.
The loose forward initially expected to play only 50 minutes, but went
through the whole match against SWD, scoring a try
as EP won 52-10.
His fine performance in the Vodacom Cup prompted the Kings management's decision to start him against the Bulls.
"Watson trained hard and came
through the Vodacom Cup match against South Western Districts unscathed and we decided to
use him for 40 to 50 minutes in his first game back," Solomons said.
Watson appeared ring-rusty and struggled with his match fitness against the Bulls, putting in a mediocre performance, before being substituted by Jacques Engelbrecht after 45 minutes.
The Kings loose forward trio of Cornell du Preez, Jacques Engelbrecht and Wimpie van der Walt, that had appeared so balanced during the Kings' Australasian tour, appeared unsettled
and seemed to lose composure with the introduction of Watson.
Centre Andries Strauss will resume the captaincy duties with Watson on the bench.
Their clash at the Free State Stadium kicks off at 19:10 on Saturday.Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said Watson was always going to
be nurtured back through a start at home and off the bench against the
Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
"There seems to be misinterpretation of the situation. We reviewed
the situation after the game and we believe that his reintegration into
Super Rugby is best suited playing of the bench for the Cheetahs match."
Sport24 misinterpreted the media conference comments but management
clarified the situation with Watson and also Murray, whose start from
the bench is part of a rotation.Teams:
Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11
Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der
Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood
de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin
George Whitehead, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss
(captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis
, 9 Shaun Venter, 8
Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Rynier
Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku
, 1 Schalk
Substitutes: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 David
Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson
, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray