Lionel Cronje back to lead Kings in Argentina
Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings coach Deon Davids has named a strong side to take on the Jaguares in a Super Rugby encounter at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires on Saturday morning.
Kick-off 01:05 SA time.
Davids stressed the importance of consistency and opted not to make any surprise inclusions to his side that showed good form in previous matches leading up to their last Super Rugby outing, against the Lions, before the June break.
In the build-up to the last match against the Lions, the Southern Kings were dealt a blow with a number of injuries which included captain Lionel Cronje and No 8 Andisa Ntsila. The side suffered further injuries during the defeat to the Gauteng-based side - losing utility back Ntabeni Dukisa (shoulder), winger Alshaun Bock (biceps) and prop Schalk van der Merwe (shoulder).
Loosehead prop Mzamo Majola, who made his Super Rugby debut against the Lions in Johannesburg in May, will get his first starting berth this weekend as he replaces the injured Van der Merwe in the No 1 jersey.
Wandile Mjekevu will start at right wing in the place of Bock.
In a rotational change, hooker Michael Willemse - who has returned to action following an appendix operation - will regain the No 2 jersey as Martin Bezuidenhout provides cover on the bench.
Ntsila and Cronje, who were on national duty during the June break with the South Africa ‘A’ side, are also back in the starting XV with Cronje also leading the side as captain once again.
Schalk Ferreira, who has been out of action for three months after sustaining a biceps injury in the closely contested match against the Sharks in Durban in March, will make his way back into the team from the bench as he provides cover for the loosehead prop position.
Utility back Masixole Banda, who has also been out with a hamstring injury, will provide backline cover on the bench, while recent South Africa Under-20 representative, Yaw Penxe, will also make a Super Rugby return from the bench.
“This week we have tried to keep continuity as we considered players that have done well in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge competition and also players that have come back from injury,” Davids said from Buenos Aires on Thursday.
The team has settled well after a long travel from Port Elizabeth via Johannesburg and Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires.
“It was a long and tiring travel to Buenos Aires. The guys were a little tired when we arrived here. We have done some recovery and had a good team meeting and training session,” said the head coach.
“The guys look excited and are ready to go on Friday night (Saturday morning SA time).
“We expect a very tough game. The Jaguares will always be a formidable side here in Buenos Aires. They have selected an internationally experienced team, so we know we have to be at our best from the start. We have to keep the pressure on them for the whole 80 minutes to ensure that we have a good result here in Buenos Aires.”
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Lucas Noguera
Substitutes: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Santiago Cordero
15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Mzamo Majola
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Masixole Banda, 23 Yaw Penxe