Port Elizabeth - Bruising back-to-back PRO14 encounters with the Cheetahs have created a few concerns on the injury front for the Southern Kings as they prepare for a tour of Europe which includes fixtures against Ulster, Ospreys and Leinster.
Team doctor Clement Plaatjies reported earlier on Wednesday that the wounded troops include flyhalf Oliver Zono who has a knee injury. “He’ll be going for a scope later this week and we’ll only have more details on his condition once that’s done,” said Plaatjies.
The doctor also advised that fullback Ntabeni Dukisa, who left the field on Saturday with what appeared to be a muscle tear, still required further examination of his injury but was unlikely to be available for the tour overseas.
The same applied to scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen who will be out of action “for at least two to three weeks” due to an ankle problem. “Whilst X-rays confirmed there was no break to his ankle Rudi appears to have a grade two ankle ligament tear which will in all likelihood rule him out of the European trip,” Plaatjies said.
The doctor had good news for Kings fans when it came to long-term absentees, prop Justin Forwood and flank CJ Velleman.
“Both are on track with their recovery and we hope to have them back for the home match against Benetton once we return from Europe. Wing Sibu Sithole is also recovering well and although he makes a return to training this week, he needs to build up strength in his leg and we don’t anticipate him featuring for the Kings again this campaign.”
Concerns about captain Michael Willemse were unfounded according to Plaatjies who said the hooker had suffered only a minor quad contusion against the Cheetahs on Saturday and was fit for duty.
Plaatjies also said that he was treating No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk (broken nose) and utility back Martin Du Toit (stiff lower back) but that both were responding well and were likely to be available for selection come the Kings next fixture, against Ulster, on February 9.
The Kings have lost all 13 of their games in the competition to date.