Kings out to prove they belong
Cape Town - Kings centre Shane Gates says it’s a bit harsh
to say that South Africa does not deserve to have six teams in the Super Rugby competition.
The Kings joined the expanded 18-team competition this year
but have struggled to keep up with the pace of the other teams.
They have lost seven out of eight games, with their only win
coming against the lowly Sunwolves in Port Elizabeth.
After last weekend’s 73-27 drubbing against the Jaguares in
Argentina, many pundits again questioned the Kings’ inclusion in the
“I don’t think it’s the first time that teams take a heavy
beating in Super Rugby. I also think it will definitely not be the last time
that a team gets heavily beaten in Super Rugby,” Gates told Netwerk24 at the
team announcement ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Blues in Port
According to Gates, the Kings entered last week’s game
against the Jaguares with the wrong mentality.
“We didn’t switch on and that’s what happens. It’s now up to
every one of us to ensure we bounce back to regain the respect we earned the
previous few weeks.”
Gates also referred to the Sunwolwes’ 36-28 win over the
Jaguares - which came a week after they lost 92-17 to the Cheetahs - as inspiration.
“We obviously take heart from their performance. I remember
in 2013 we lost by more than 70 points to the Waratahs and a week later we beat
Meanwhile, Kings coach Deon Davids on Wednesday made three
changes to his line-up that will face the Blues on Saturday.
A hand injury means loosehead prop Schalk Ferreira misses
out and he is replaced in the side by Sithembiso Sithole for the home fixture.
Elsewhere, James Hall gets the nod at scrumhalf in place of
Ntando Kebe while the fullback jersey will be filled by Jurgen Visser, who
takes over from Jaco van Tonder, with Davids explaining that the latter two
calls were tactical switches due to weather conditions.
"On Saturday it will be windy and rainy, so we opted to
swap James around with Ntando Kebe for tactical reasons," said the coach.
Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11
Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 James Hall, 8 Cyril-John Velleman, 7
Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes
(captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sithembiso Sithole
Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Schalk
Oelofse, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Louis Fouche, 23
Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita
Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6
Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2
James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley
Substitutes: 16 Matt
Moulds, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Kara
Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sa’u