Kings want to give tour definition
The Southern Kings will be hoping to define their tour by pulling off an upset win when they end their three match Vodacom Super Rugby sojourn in Australia against the Waratahs at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Friday.
The Kings have delivered some good rugby in patches in their two previous matches on Australian soil. In the opening game against the Western Force in Perth they pushed hard for the win and scored six tries before eventually succumbing to a combination of a controversial penalty try and the superior legs that the Force boasted on their bench.
Last week in Brisbane there was never too much question that the Reds would be challenged, but the Kings still scored some excellent tries and provided an entertaining spectacle.
Kings coach Deon Davids will be hoping though that his men can provide more than spectacle as they go out to score the win over the Waratahs, champions in the competition in 2014, that will give the tour meaning and make it a memorable one. It’s not completely beyond the Kings’ ability to at least be competitive against a Waratahs team that has blown hot and cold this season.
However, Davids was under no illusions earlier this week on what a big obstacle the Waratahs will be for his team.
“It is going to be a very tough encounter and we have massive respect for our opponents. They are one of the best teams in the competition with a lot of international stars,” said Davids.
It is true since the return of Bernard Foley at flyhalf the Waratahs have settled a bit and become more confident and composed, and it would be a major shock if the Kings did somehow get up to win. But Davids promised that his men would give it their best shot before they return home to play another Australian team, the Melbourne Rebels, at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium the following weekend.
“For us it is really about putting up a better performance than we did last week,” said the coach.
Concussion has forced regular wing Yaw Penxe, who is already back in South Africa, out of the game. He is replaced by Wandile Mjekevu, who gets his first start of the season. Ross Geldenhuys returns after taking time off to recover from a neck spasm and there are a few other changes to the pack as Davids looks to manage his resources.
Southern Kings team: Masixole Banda, Wandile Mjekevu, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Cronje (captain), Louis Schreuder, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, Chris Cloete, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Irne Herbst, Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Willemse, Justin Forwood.
Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Schalk van der Merwe, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Mzwanele Zito, Ruaan Lerm, Johan Steyn, Stokkies Hanekom, Pieter-Steyn de Wet.