Cape Town - The Southern Kings squad for their two match PRO14 tour of Ireland and Wales will miss JT Jackson and a clutch of other injured players but it still includes what coach Robbie Kempson considers a good blend of experience and youthful exuberance.
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Jackson, who has played inside centre in the last few games after spending much of the early part of the season at flyhalf, was one of the players injured in the recent derby defeat to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Among the regular first choices that he joins in sitting this tour out are wing Yaw Penxe, Bader Pretorius, who started at pivot against the Cheetahs, as well as Cameron Dawson, the loosehead prop starter in Bloemfontein.
However, back in the swing of things and ready to start after playing off the bench last time out are Demetri Catrakilis and Howard Mnisi, who should be a straight swap for Pretorius and Jackson in the crucial No 10/12 axis for Friday night’s game against Munster in Cork.
"Demetri being back and ready to play again is good timing because Bader is out. Having Demetri back at full flight will be great for us, and Howard brings experience," said Kempson before he and his 27-man squad flew out of Port Elizabeth on Monday afternoon.
"We also have lock JC Astle back and fully fit again. So while we have lost a few players, and JT Jackson is a big loss for us because he was one of our playmakers, there is a good mix of youth and experience in this group."
Another experienced player back after missing the trip to Bloemfontein through injury is scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer.
The Kings squad announcement was delayed on Monday as the management awaited the verdict on Elrigh Louw’s disciplinary hearing in the morning. The young loose-forward, a player Kempson rates highly, was cited for a dangerous tackle in the Cheetahs game. He was slapped with a one match ban, but the fact that he will be available for the second match against the Scarlets means he could tour with the team.
The Kings have had more than a week now to lick their wounds following the 45-0 shut-out at the hands of the Cheetahs and Kempson reckons the timing of the bye was perfect.
"It was perfect timing for the bye in the sense that we played two tough successive derbies against the Cheetahs and there were a lot of bumps and bruises from those games, and unfortunately one or two injuries too," said Kempson.
The Kings coach hinted that the Kings have been eagerly awaiting their return clash with Munster as they feel they let themselves in losing narrowly to the Irish team in Port Elizabeth last October.
"They will be two tough games, we are under no illusion about the task that awaits us," he said.
"Munster are always difficult, and we will be playing them late on a Friday night in Cork. We are keen to get stuck into that game though because we felt we missed an opportunity in the game in South Africa. Scarlets have an exceptional coach in Brad Moore, who did an incredible job with his team when several of his players were away at the World Cup."
The tour squad includes two uncapped players in loose-forward Luyolo Dapula and utility back Edmund Ludik, while winger Josiah Twum-Boafo also makes a return to the team.
Alandre van Rooyen, Aston Fortuin, Bobby de Wee, Elrigh Louw, Ignatius Prinsloo, Jacques du Toit, JC Astle, Jerry Sexton, Lusanda Badiyana, Luyolo Dapula, Pieter Scholtz, Rossouw de Klerk, Ruaan Lerm, Schalk Ferreira, Thembelani Bholi, Xandre Vos.
Andell Loubser, Christopher Hollis, Courtney Winnaar, Demetri Catrakilis, Edmund Ludik, Erich Cronje, Howard Mnisi, Josh Allderman, Josiah Twum-Boafo, Sibusiso Sithole, Stefan Ungerer.
- PRO14 media