Another rookie King
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: Southern Kings hooker Kerron van Vuuren will be the latest player to make his Pro14 debut when the side takes on Benetton in a Round 10 clash at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium on Saturday.
Coach Deon Davids has made a number of changes to the side that suffered a 14-31 defeat to Irish side Connacht last Sunday.
The team will see a total of seven personnel changes to the starting line-up, with an additional three positional switches to the team.
After last week’s starting hooker, Alandre van Rooyen sustained a concussion in the match against Connacht, Van Vuuren – who is on loan from the Sharks – will get his first cap for the Southern Kings with a starting berth on Saturday.
Prop Pieter Scholtz will also be making a much anticipated return from a shoulder injured he sustained last season with a start in the No.3 jersey, while Nicolaas Oosthuizen switches from tighthead prop to loosehead this week.
Martinus Burger will also make a return to the starting XV as he replaces Jurie van Vuuren in a rotational switch.
Four changes in the backline will see the return of Michael Botha at fullback, while Bjorn Basson gets a start at left win where he replaces Michael Makase. Yaw Penxe moves from left wing to the right side.
Masixole Banda, who has played previous matches for the Southern Kings at fullback, moves to flyhalf in the place of Martin du Toit who sustained a knee injury against Connacht.
The Southern Kings will start with the new centre pairing of Tertius Kruger at inside centre and Meli Rokoua on the outside. The recent Southern Kings recruits will be getting their first start of the season alongside each other. The change comes about after Berton Klaasen sustained a leg injury which has kept him out of contention this week, with Harlon Klaasen being placed on the bench.
Ulrich Beyers will provide utility cover for the backline from the bench, making his first appearance of the season for the Southern Kings.
“We have a few injuries which will mean changes,” Davids said.
“Centre Berton Klaasen has a leg injury. This will enable us to see what Fijian Meli Rokoua can do from the start, and Tertius Kruger has also been good.
“With Martin du Toit suffering from a knee injury, Ntabeni Dukisa would have been the logical choice at No 10. But he has a minor shoulder injury, so Masixole Banda will shift in at No 10.
“A guy like Michael Botha will now get a chance. We will also get Ulrich Beyers in the mix from the bench.”
Benetton coach Kieran Crowley also made several changes.
The fullback will be Angelo Esposito, on the wings Ratuva Tavuyara and Monty Ioane. Tommaso Iannone and Marco Zanon will be the centres.
The halfbacks are Dewaldt Duvenage at scrumhalf and Ian McKinley at flyhalf.
The front row will consist of Nicola Quaglio, Hame Faiva and Marco Riccioni.
Locks will be Irné Herbst and Federico Ruzza. Finally, the back row sees Giovanni Pettinelli, Michele Lamaro and captain Marco Barbini completing the XV.
Southern Kings: 15 Botha Michael, 14 Penxe Yaw, 13 Rokoua Meli, 12 Kruger Tertius, 11 Basson Bjorn, 10 Banda Masixole, 9 Ungerer Stefan, 8 Lerm Ruaan, 7 Burger Martinus, 6 Velleman Cyril-John, 5 Astle John-Charles (captain), 4 Greeff Stephan, 3 Scholtz Pieter, 2 Van Vuuren Kerron, 1 Oosthuizen Nicolaas.
Replacements: 16 Balekile Tango, 17 Tshakweni Alulutho, 18 Pupuma Luvuyo, 19 Oelofse Schalk, 20 Van Schalkwyk Andries, 21 Masimla Godlen, 22 Beyers Ulrich, 23 Klaasen Harlon.
Benetton: 15 Angelo Esposito, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Marco Barbini (captain), 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Engjel Makelara, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Giuseppe Di Stefano, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Antonio Rizzi, 23 Alberto Sgarbi.
Date: Saturday, December 1
Venue: Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.15 (18.15 Italian time; 17.15 GMT)
Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Ruhan Meiring (South Africa)
TMO: Wilhelm de Villiers (South Africa)