Port Elizabeth - Kings coach Deon Davids has named his first Super Rugby side of the season ahead of Saturday's clash against the Jaguares in Port Elizabeth.
It is a fixture that the Kings will have fond memories of as it was one of only two wins they managed in the 2016 competition.
This, though, is a new-look squad and while there a number of players who most South African rugby lovers will be totally unfamiliar with, there is some valuable experience at halfback in the form of Louis Schreuder and Lionel Cronje.
Both players have Super Rugby experience, and Davids will be looking for big performances from them on Saturday.
"The basic understanding that you want from your 9 and 10 is that they must give direction to your team, whether on attack or defence," Davids told media in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
"They must ensure that we get tempo and momentum in the game and that they control it ... using their experience to give direction to the youngsters around them and to bring calm when needed."
There is also space on the bench for key loose forward Chris Cloete, who was a major doubt for the weekend as he continued his recovery from concussion.
"We’ve taken precautionary measures in terms of Chris’s
injury," Davids said.
"We’re happy with the way that he recovered from the knock he got last
week. He’s been doing very well in the contact sessions and it’s very important
that we get him back to his best as soon as possible."
It looks like it could be another tough season for the Kings, but they will view this weekend as an opportunity to get off on the right foot.
"Winning is a culture, as is losing. For us it’s important
that we go out there full of confidence in ourselves and what we can bring," said Davids.
understand that we are playing against a quality side and we will have to focus
a lot on ourselves. We’re looking forward to expressing ourselves and seeing
some of our experienced players and youngsters getting their opportunity to
play Super Rugby.
"This is Super Rugby … we must step up. We expect a very
physical and high tempo game. From our set pieces we have to ensure that we
handle the battle and ensure that we contest the collisions. We know it’s going
to be hard, but I think we’re prepared for that and the guys are looking
forward to getting stuck in."
The match kicks off at 17:15.
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen,
12 Waylon Murray, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruan
Lerm, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Irne Herbst, 3
Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk van der
Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22
Masixole 'Coyi' Banda, 23 Luzuko Vulindlu
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Substitutes: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Cristian Bartoloni, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano