Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings coach Deon Davids on Thursday announced a 30-man squad to take on the SWD Eagles in a pre-season friendly at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Following the Southern Kings’ 28-10 victory against the Border Bulldogs in last week’s pre-season friendly in East London, the head coach will give an opportunity for game time to some of the players who were not part of last week’s squad and those who were used as substitutes to earn starting berths.
“Last week we gave the youngsters a chance to start, as well as guys who came back from injury. This week we are going to give the rest of the squad a chance to start, and also manage the other players’ involvement in the match,” said Davids on Thursday.
“We want to have as many players as possible having had some good game time. The guys that will start in this game will play longer than last week.
“A guy like Chris Cloete, for example, needs a certain number of minutes of game time after coming back from injury.”
Cloete, who had a stellar season with the Southern Kings last year before a knee injury setback, will be among 15 players that will be used from the bench.
Experienced prop Schalk Ferreira will lead the side as captain for the game.
Davids, who is yet to name a captain for the Super Rugby campaign, added that Ferreira was one of several candidates in the team for the captain’s armband for the year.
“Schalk is part of our leadership group. We have assembled a very good leadership group. He is definitely one of the candidates to lead the team during the year,” the head coach said.
“He has been around a long time and knows the setup of the franchise. He understands, like the rest of the guys, that it is about merit and earning your place as a starting candidate in the team, and we will work from there.”
Davids emphasised the importance of the clash with the SWD Eagles ahead of the start of the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby later this month.
“At this point in time, it’s about giving your best and using your opportunities. We spoke about purpose and doing whatever it takes when you get onto the field. It is important for me that when the players put on the team jersey they play with a purpose to own it - whether you were here last year or a youngster, you have to give your best.
“We have some exciting youngsters and experienced guys. In each position there is some good competition. It’s a healthy environment. The guys have to step up on Saturday and prove their worth going into our first Super Rugby game.”
Kick-off for Saturday’s match is at 17:15.
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Luzuko Vulindlu, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Ruan Lerm, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Cameron Lindsay, 21 Chris Cloete, 22 Thembelani Bholi, 23 Christiaan de Bruin, 24 Louis Schreuder, 25 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 26 Yaw Penxe, 27 Berton Klaasen, 28 Johan Tromp, 29 Malcolm Jaer, 30 Coyi Banda.
15 Leighton Eksteen, 14 Shadward Fillies, 13 Kirsten Heyns, 12 Wilneth Engelbrecht, 11 Charlese Radebe, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Christo du Plessis, 7 Devon Raubenheimer, 6 Janneman Stander (captain), 5 Brendan Snyman, 4 Anton Smit, 3 Basil Short, 2 Kelvin Fikster, 1 Teunis Nieuwoudt
Substitutes: 16 Brendon Haas, 17 Juandre Digue, 18 Tiaan Weyers, 19 Hardus Coetzee, 20 Devron Jansen, 21 Freginald Africa, 22 Dillon Snell, 23 Rudi Michaels, 24 Quaid Langeveld, 25 Gideon Lambrecht, 26 Rupino Plaatjies, 27 Justin Bhana, 28 Lorenzo Gorden, 29 Leegan Moos