Port Elizabeth - Ulrich Beyers will earn his first starting berth for the Southern Kings when they take on defending PRO14 champions, Leinster, in a Round 16 clash at the RDS Arena in Dublin on Friday.
Kick-off is at 21:55 SA time.
The 28-year-old fullback, who has come off the bench four times for the Port Elizabeth side, will earn his first start as he replaces Masixole Banda in a rotational change to the Southern Kings line-up.
Banda, who has started in all 15 Southern Kings games played so far this season, will be on the bench.
Veteran scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius will also be getting his first Southern Kings start in the No 9 jersey as he rotates with Stefan Ungerer, who will provide cover from the bench this week.
“From a player-management perspective, we are rotating Masixole Banda and Ulrich Beyers. Banda has started all the matches so far, and now we are excited to see Ulrich in action and how his experience and height can be used as a factor in our back three,” coach David Davids explained.
“Sarel Pretorius has been good from the bench and patiently waited for his opportunity. We have decided to reward him this week, with Stefan Ungerer going to the bench.”
The Southern Kings will this week start without captain, JC Astle, who will also be on the bench.
His spot in the second row will be taken by Stephan Greeff while hooker, Michael Willemse, will assume the captaincy role for the Leinster clash.
Another change in the forwards clash will see flanker Henry “Bakkies” Brown returning to the starting XV, exchanging spots with Stephan de Wit, who falls out of the match-23 squad.
Former Junior Springbok prop Alulutho Tshakweni will get another spot in the starting XV as he rotates with veteran Schalk Ferreira, who will provide cover from the bench.
“Our captain, JC Astle, and centre, Tertius Kruger both struggled with a bout of flu this week and missed out on a few training sessions as a result. On medical advice, they were not considered in the starting line-up for this week,” explained Davids.
“We are fortunate to have Michael Willemse taking over the captaincy role - something that is not strange or new to him. He is part of a good leadership group within the team.
“It was always our plan to rotate Stephan de Wit and Brandon Brown on this tour. Stephan was solid in his performance last week, while Bakkies was very good before his injury. We are fortunate to have both of them as replacements for the suspended CJ Velleman.”
The Southern Kings are expecting a hard match against the defending Guinness PRO14 and European champions this week.
Davids has taken stock of his side’s shortcomings from last weekend’s defeat to Munster and indicated that his charges are aware of what is expected from them.
“We are far from being happy with the amount of penalties and cards we conceded, and we kept that in mind with our discussion around the match-23 for this week,” said the head coach.
“The players know clearly where they stand and in what areas of their game we seek improvements.
“It was encouraging to see a good start against Munster - we were quite physical and created a lot of momentum, however we were also our own enemy by giving the momentum away at crucial times."
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Bader Pretorius, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Henry Brown, 5 Andries van Schalkwyk, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Alulutho Tshakweni
Substitutes: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 JC Astle, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Tertius Kruger, 23 Masixole Banda