SUPER RUGBY Preview : Kings vs Blues

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The Kings have made three changes to their starting line-up that will face the Blues at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth 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 scrum-half in place of Ntando Kebe while the full-back jersey will be filled by Jurgen Visser, who takes over from Jaco van Tonder, with head coach Deon 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 [Hall] around with Ntando Kebe for tactical reasons,” said the coach.

Midfielder George Moala will play his 50th game for the Blues in their Super Rugby clash against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The 25-year-old will be the most capped Blues player in the back-line to take on the Kings in the first of the Blues’ three-match tour that includes the high-flying Lions in Johannesburg and the Force in Perth.

They return for a much anticipated clash against the Crusaders at Eden Park before the June international break.

Melani Nanai, who had three starts early in the season, returns to start on the right wing in place of Rieko Ioane, who has joined the All Blacks Sevens.

The other changes come in the front row with Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who has played in every game this year, getting a start after four games coming off the bench, swapping with Charlie Faumuina.

Northland captain Matt Moulds will be looking for his first game of the season, named on the bench as replacement hooker, after two caps last year.

It is the first time that the Blues have played the Kings, who played in 2013 before being relegated, and have returned to the expanded competition this year.

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

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 (c), 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 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

Date: Saturday, May 7
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17:10 local (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez


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