Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings loose-forward Lusanda Badiyana will captain the side when they take on Munster in a PRO14 clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
While the 23-year-old will be leading the team for the first time in the PRO14, the role will not be a new one him after having captained the team in a pre-season fixture against World Cup side, Namibia, last month.
Badiyana takes over the captaincy from lock JC Astle, who will be out of action this week following a stomach ailment.
The East London-born former Cambridge High School head boy will lead a side with three changes to the forwards pack and another four in the backline.
“Lusanda is a natural choice for captain with JC not being considered in view of medical reasons. Lusanda is a natural leader and is part of our leadership group, and has done so from Under-19 level,” said interim head coach Rob Kempson.
“So it is a natural progression after also captaining the side against Namibia, where he did a good job. I think he is a leader that can take this team forward.”
Loosehead prop Juan Schoeman, who is on loan from the Sharks, will make his Southern Kings and PRO14 debut with a starting berth.
Aston Fortuin, who made his debut in last weekend’s opening match of the season, will take the place of Astle in the second row, earning his first start for the side in the championship.
The experienced No 8, Ruaan Lerm, will make a return for the side after recovering from an ankle injury.
In the backline, fullback Masixole Banda, who missed out on selection for the opening match due to a groin injury, will be back in the No 15 jersey where his own experience will be of benefit for the side.
He will play alongside a new wing pairing of Andell Loubser and Courtney Winnaar, who replace Yaw Penxe and Christopher Hollis, both of whom are unavailable for selection due to medical reasons.
Tertius Kruger also makes a return to the side at outside centre, where he takes the place of the injured Howard Mnisi.
The Southern Kings will also have some firepower on the bench which will include Alulutho Tshakweni and Bobby de Wee, while Josiah Twum-Boafo will be making his debut from the bench as backline cover.
Saturday’s match will kick off at 16:00.
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Andell Loubser, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Courtney Winnaar, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Lusanda Badiyana (captain), 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Jerry Sexton, Pieter Scholtz, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Josh Allderman, 22 Sibusiso Sithole, 23 Josiah Twum-Boafo