Cape Town - After a few weeks break from the rigours of competitive PRO14 action, a re-energised Southern Kings look ahead to their first match in 2018.
Head coach Deon Davids has named the strongest possible squad available to him for this week’s trip to Scotland where Edinburgh lie in wait as the opposition Friday evening.
In as much as the break period since their last fixture - against the same opponents - on December 1, 2017, has allowed the Kings to regroup and recover from a few bumps and niggles, their time on the training ground has unfortunately cost them the services of prop forward Luvuyo Papama and stand-out loose forward Andisa Ntsila.
“Luvuyo unfortunately tore a hamstring muscle during training and he is likely to be out for three to four weeks as a result while Andisa suffered a concussion and mandatory protocol requires that he sit out for a minimum of two weeks whilst we monitor his condition,” said team doctor Clement Plaatjies.
Other players unavailable for selection were squad captain Michael Willemse, flyhalf Oliver Zono and wing Michael Makase. All three are making their way back to full fitness after injury, however Dr Plaatjies said he expected them to be ready for action soon.
Commenting on the make-up of his squad Coach Davids stressed that the omission of Stefan Greeff and Bobby de Wee from the touring group was nothing more than a desire on his part to manage their workload and that they would return for the match against the Cheetahs later this month.
”Those two have been grafting extremely hard in our previous encounters and will return for the Cheetah game. We have in their place though, Jurie van Vuuren and Lindokuhle Welemu, two replacements who will be determined to prove themselves. There’s also an opportunity for Eital Bredenkamp and Freddie Ngoza, neither of whom have played in the first half of the season, to step up as loose forwards, in the place of the injured players,” he said
Davids also revealed that Mzamo Majola, on loan from the Sharks, had been required to return to his home franchise and had been replaced by Njabulo Gumede whilst recent loan signing from the Lions Anthony Volmink was not considered for the Edinburgh encounter due to family commitments.
“Overall this has been a difficult touring squad to put together and I’ve had much to consider. Firstly, we’ve had to take into account the players’ workload prior to this break and consider the impact that the tough travelling schedule we have coming up could have on their recovery. We have also been hit by some unforeseen injuries. In light of the said, we decided it would be a good opportunity to assess the depth and talent within the squad by giving other players an opportunity on this one week tour whilst at the same time not discarding too much continuity,” he said.
An added challenge for Davids and his Kings team will be the icy mid-winter conditions they are likely to experience in Edinburgh.
The match will take place at the Scottish team’s Myreside home on Friday, January 5 and kick-off is at 21:35 (SA time).
Southern Kings touring squad:
Rossouw de Klerk
Dries van Schalkwyk
Jurie van Vuuren
Rudi van Rooyen
Martin du Toit