Cape Town - The Eastern Province Kings begin their Currie Cup Premier Division this week when they face the Boland Cavaliers at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday at 17:00.
The Kings have been hard pressed to get a team together after EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd was liquidated last week, but an agreement between the various stakeholders has seen a team established under the same company that managed the Southern Kings' Super Rugby franchise during the first half of the year.
Announcing the team on Wednesday, head coach Barend Pieterse said the relatively unknown side could present some challenges for the other teams in the competition.
“I do think it counts in our favour that no-one knows much about us,” he said.
Pieterse said this did not mean that he was expecting Boland’s head coach, Brett Janse van Rensburg, whom he had worked with in the past, not to have done his homework.
“Boland have some strong ball carriers and a big forward pack and we are expecting them to take us on up front, so it is important for us to focus on slowing their momentum,” he said.
Pieterse said the players were still getting to know each other and the situation was not ideal, but said everyone was putting in the time to get to know the various plays.
“We are where we are at the moment and there is no turning back,” he said
Newly appointed captain Schalk Ferreira said he was looking forward to fulfilling the leadership role for the season.
“We are a new squad, but this is a blank canvas and it is an opportunity for the players to make their name known, playing in the biggest national rugby competition in South Africa,” he said.
Pieterse said, due to the short recruitment time available, the majority of players had been contracted on a short term basis for the Currie Cup season, but that this did not mean there was not opportunity for them to secure a contract extension and a possible spot in the Southern Kings Super Rugby setup for 2017.
15. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14. Alcino Isaacs, 13. Johan Tromp, 12. Waylon Murray, 11. Sampie Mastriet, 10. Kobus Marais, 9. Ricky Schroeder, 8. Christiaan de Bruin, 7. Sebastian Ferreira, 6. Vince Jhobo, 5. Cornell Hess, 4. Tazz Fuzani, 3. Vukile Sofisa, 2. Mike Willemse, 1. Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Justin Forwood, 18. David Antonites, 19. Brandon Brown, 20. Jacques Fick, 21. Burton Klaasen 22. Lungelo Goza