SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW : Kings vs Bulls

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Kings head coach Deon Davids has made four changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with the Bulls in Port Elizabeth.

Three alterations are in the back-line while openside flanker CJ Velleman has been replaced by Chris Cloete, in a rotational change, up front.

On the right wing, Luzuko Vulindlu replaces Siyanda Gray while Lukhanyo Am comes into the midfield.

Am will start at outside centre while Stefan Watermeyer, who wore the number 13 jersey in the triumph over the Sunwolves last weekend, shifts in a position where he takes over from Shane Gates, who is sidelined with a foot injury.

The final change sees James Hall replacing Ntando Kebe at scrum-half. On the bench, Leighton Eksteen has been bracketed with JP Du Plessis.

SP Marais will take over from Jesse Kriel at full-back for the Bulls when they face the Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

This will only be his second match for the Bulls after the former Kings and Sharks player came off the bench in their win over the Cheetahs.

Marais replaces Kriel, who returns to the midfield to partner Jan Serfontein. Kriel moves to outside centre, with Serfontein shifting to the inside berth left vacant by the injury to Burger Odendaal.

Kriel’s twin brother, Dan, moves onto the bench and could make his Super Rugby debut should he take to the field.

Rudy Paige is also out injured and Piet van Zyl will start at nine for the first time this year, with Ivan van Zyl remaining on the bench as back-up scrum-half.

In changes to the pack, Arno Botha returns to the number eight position, replacing Nic de Jager, while Lappies Labuschagne is back in the starting pack. He replaces Roelof Smit, who moves to the bench.

In another change, Trevor Nyakane will start at loosehead prop, with Lizo Gqoboka dropping out.

Two new faces on the bench is Marvin Orie and Werner Kruger. Orie comes in for Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Kruger takes the seat vacated by Nyakane.

“There is no doubt that the Kings will be tails up,” Bulls coach Nollis Marais said when he announced the team in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“They really deserved the win against the Sunwolves, a team we battled to put away. So with that as measure, it is clear that we will have to play very well if we want to leave Port Elizabeth with a win. We showed good grit last weekend against the Cheetahs, but will have to be more consistent at this level. We are playing in spurts and our second half effort is lacking.”

Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, feels that the Kings will target the his team’s scrum.

“No doubt. We did not do well in that department last weekend, while they did very well, so will see an opportunity to attack us there. We worked hard to fix the issues we had and I am confident that we can repel that attack. We have some weapons of our own and intend to use them,” he said.

The Teams:

Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 James Hall, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Justin Ackerman, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Leighton Eksteen/JP Du Plessis, 23 Jaco van Tonder

Bulls: 15 SP Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Dan Kriel

Date: Saturday, April 9
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19:15 local (17:15 GMT)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)


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