Port Elizabeth - There were call-ups for recent signings Martin du Toit and Mzamo Majola when Southern Kings coach Deon Davids named his squad to take on Glasgow Warriors in their PRO14 championship clash in Scotland on Friday.
Flyhalf Du Toit is included in the run-on XV, while Majola takes his place on the bench as replacement prop forward.
Other changes made to the team that did duty for the Kings in their last fixture against Benetton sees wing Yaw Penxe return at the expense of Sibusiso Sithole who has unfortunately sustained a long-term knee injury.
Kings fans will breathe a huge sigh of relief upon the news that star fullback Masixole Banda has fully recovered from the knock he sustained in the match against Benetton and retains his status as an ever-present in the Kings side this campaign.
Other changes to the backline see Berton Klaasen and Luzuko Vulindlu re-united as centre pairing with Jacques Nel dropping to the bench and fit-again Rudi Van Rooyen taking over at scrumhalf from Godlen Masimla. Rowan Gouws has been drafted into the squad as replacement scrumhalf.
Changes made by Davids to the pack include Rossouw de Klerk returning as tighthead prop in place of Martin Dreyer, whilst Ruaan Lerm is also restored to the starting XV. He comes in at No 8 in place of Dries Van Schalkwyk who is unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.
Both coach Davids and captain Michael Willemse were in agreement that the few weeks break the Kings have enjoyed since their last fixture came at a good time for the franchise and allowed them time to work on areas that had not been possible before due to their lack of pre-season preparation.
Davids said he expected a high-tempo game from the Warriors and that they were a team that liked to play off quick turnovers and against unstructured defence.
“We will need to be very organised on defence against them and try to make sure that we play the game in the right areas. Then we need to be more ruthless in using our opportunities when we get quality ball. These are the things we’ve been working on at training,” he said.
Saturday’s match at Scotstoun Stadium will be played on an artificial surface and despite the Kings not having had too much experience in this regard Davids did not think it would prove to be too much of a factor.
“We trained on artificial surfaces in both Wales and Ireland recently and there really isn’t that much of a difference. It only gets tricky if conditions are extremely wet but on the plus side it can make the set pieces easier and also assists in building continuity on attack,” he said.
Kick-off is at 20:35 (SA time).
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Matt Smith, 6 Robert Harley (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Alex Allan
Substitutes: 16 George Turner, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Lewis Wynne, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Stafford McDowall, 23 Lelia Masaga
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Martin Du Toit, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Rossouw De Klerk, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Rowan Gouws, 22 Oliver Zono, 23 Jacques Nel