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    Kings out to prove they belong

    2016-05-05 07:25

    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 competition.

    “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 Elizabeth.

    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 the Highlanders.”

    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.

    Teams:

    Kings

    15 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

    Substitutes: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Leighton Ekstee

    Blues

    15 Lolagi 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

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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