Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings coach Deon Davids has made four changes and one positional switch to his starting XV for Sunday’s PRO14 encounter against Irish side Ulster.
The clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium kicks off at 14:15.
Fullback Michael Botha, who was ruled out of last weekend’s match against Dragons due to a groin injury, will be back in the No 15 jersey after making a full recovery.
The versatile Yaw Penxe shifts from fullback to right wing, replacing Michael Makase, who is out of the match-day squad for this week.
The other change in the backline will see Godlen Masimla starting ahead of Rudi van Rooyen at scrumhalf, with the latter moving to the bench.
Two changes in the forward pack will see the Kings’ most capped player, Schalk Ferreira, making his first start of the new season at loosehead prop, while JC Astle will start at No 5 alongside lock partner Schalk Oelofse.
The Kings are keen to get their home leg of the competition off to a good start after opening the campaign with two losses on the road against Zebre (Italy) and Dragons (Wales)
.“This is our first home game for the new season. We are really looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd,” coach Deon Davids said ahead of the clash.
“The guys showed some enthusiasm on the road but were rusty in the first game; and last week we had a very slow start. So now we just have to keep building on the positive stuff.”
Centre Berton Klaasen also expressed his enthusiasm at playing the first match of the season at home.
“We are excited to play at home. We always get a lift from playing in PE. When we travel overseas the stadiums are often much smaller than ours here back home, and that can, at times, be intimidating,” he said.
The visiting Ulster side will arrive at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the back of two victories in their opening matches.
On their last visit to Port Elizbeth, the Irish side emerged as 43-36 victors. The home side is expecting nothing less than another heated exchange between the two sides.
“Our previous encounter against Ulster was a close and tough one. I’m certain that they will come out guns blazing, and we are aware that they are a real quality team. We are going to have to step it up this weekend,” added Klaasen.
15 Michael Botha, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 JC Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Martin du Toit, 23 Ntabeni Dukisa