Cape Town - Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids announced his 25-strong squad to make the trip to Europe this week for their PRO14 clash with the so-far unbeaten Glasgow Warriors.
A notable absentee amongst the travellers is wing Sibusiso Sithole who is likely to be out for a lengthy spell following surgery to a serious knee injury that he sustained in the Kings last fixture against Benetton. Also missing from the backline that did duty against Benetton is flyhalf Pieter-Steyn De Wet whilst changes among the pack see prop Etienne Swanepoel and loose forward Dries van Schalkwyk drop out. The latter is unavailable due to personal reasons.
In place of these Davids has called up new frontrow signing Mzamo Majola while there is also a recall for hooker Stephan Coetzee. Loose forward Ruaan Lerm gets the nod again, as does scrumhalf Rowan Gouws. Highly-rated wing Yaw Penxe also makes a welcome return to the squad whilst place is also found for new flyhalf Martin du Toit - recently signed from South Western District Eagles.
First-choice pivot Kurt Coleman has not yet recovered from injury so does not make the trip.
Southern Kings captain Michael Willemse said that he and the team appreciated the few weeks break they’ve been afforded since the match against Benetton.
“We have not only been able to get over a few knocks and niggles but also had a chance to focus on a few things that our lack of pre-season preparation had not made possible. After six weeks of really hard rugby I think the break came as a blessing for us,” he said.
Davids acknowledged that a stern test awaited his team in Glasgow.
“The Warriors play a high-tempo game and like taking on an unstructured defence so we need to make sure we are well-organised. It is also important for us to play the game in the right areas and to take our opportunities when we have quality ball. That is something we have spent a lot of time on during the past few weeks,” he added.
The match against Glasgow Warriors will be played on an artificial surface but Davids did not feel this would influence proceedings too much.
“We trained on artificial surfaces in Wales and Ireland and it really was not that different. It helps improve the set pieces and to build continuity I think but can get rather slippery when it rains. It will be the same for both sides,” he said.
The Kings flew out from Port Elizabeth early on Tuesday and Davids will announce his match day 23 on Thursday.
Rossouw de Klerk
Jurie Van Vuuren
Bobby De Wee
Rudi van Rooyen
Martin du Toit