Cape Town - Elgar Watts will make his first start for the EP Kings after being named in the run-on line-up for their Currie Cup Premier Division rugby match against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Friday (19:10 kick-off).
The talented Watts has played from the bench in the Kings' last two matches and he now gets a chance to establish himself as the front-runner for the pivot position. He replaces Karlo Aspeling, who is on the bench.
"We feel that Elgar has picked up enough rhythm and confidence to start against the Bulls, and we will be looking to him to get things going," Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg.
In two changes to the forwards, flank Thembelani Bholi and prop Lizo Gqoboka are back in the starting line-up, replacing Paul Schoeman and Schalk Ferreira respectively.
Schoeman has had some outstanding performances in recent weeks, but Bholi has also shone this season and Janse van Rensburg said they were giving the combination of Bholi, Stefan Willemse and Jacques Engelbrecht the chance to play together.
He confirmed, as well, that Gqoboka was on the mend after a leg injury.
"Lizo is back after a "dead" leg," Janse van Rensburg said, "and he came through today's session without any problems. He has been well looked after by the medical staff and will be ready to play on Friday."
While there is an air of excitement introduced by the release of the 2016 Super Rugby fixtures on Monday (September 28), where the Southern Kings will return to the competition, Janse van Rensburg said they were focused firmly on their last two Currie Cup matches. The Kings, who scored a thrilling win over Griquas at the weekend, follow Friday's Bulls game with a clash against Western Province in Cape Town on October 9.
"Having Super Rugby back is exciting," Janse van Rensburg said, "but the Currie Cup season is not over. We are focused only on that and we want to finish off the season with good performances, and will be aiming for consistency from the players, No 1 to 15, and to be accurate and efficient in our play at all times."
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis,12 Tim Whitehead (captain), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes (vice-captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling.