Kings to unleash Sithole against Ospreys
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Southern Kings have named their team that will take on Welsh side, Ospreys, in their last Pro14 home fixture for the 2018/19 season on Friday.
The match will be played at Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium.
After a lengthy period on the sidelines due to injury, former South African Sevens star Sibusiso Sithole will make a long-awaited return to the playing field, making his first appearance for the season in the starting line-up.
Sithole will form a midfield partnership with Berton Klaasen, who made his 50th appearance for the Southern Kings last week and is a replacement for the injured Tertius Kruger. Kruger sustained an ankle injury in Sunday’s 18-18 tie with Dragons.
In other changes in the backline, Ulrich Beyers will make a return to the starting line-up at No15 in the place of Masixole Banda, while Harlon Klaasen will start on the right wing where he replaces Michael Makase, who himself was a late replacement last week following a late hamstring injury to the Southern Kings’ leading try-scorer Yaw Penxe.
In the forwards, exciting young prop Alulutho Tshakweni makes a return to the starting XV in a rotational switch with veteran, Schalk Ferreira, who will be on the bench this week.
Captain JC Astle will have a new starting lock partner in Stephan Greeff, who will get a start in the No.4 jersey this week. Dries van Schalkwyk shifts to blindside flank where he replaces hard-tackling Tienie Burger, who has been ruled out of action with a shoulder injury.
Fijian, Meli Rokoua, will also make a return to the match-23 squad where he will provide backline cover alongside Banda. Schalk Oelofse has also been included on the bench to provide cover in the second row.
“We have had a few injuries that have forced us to make certain changes to our team,” head coach Deon Davids said.
“In certain positions we have rotated some of the players, and we are happy to see a guy like Sbura Sithole back in action as he gets his first run of the season after a frustrating time out with injuries.
“Ospreys is a good side with international players, and we expect a tough encounter against them this Friday. We will be playing our last match at home for this current season and we want to end it off on a high in front of our loyal home crowd.”
Southern Kings: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Harlon Klaasen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Bader Pretorius, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 John-Charles Astle (captain), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Alulutho Tshakweni.
Replacements: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Stephan De Wit, 21 Rudi Van Rooyen, 22 Masixole Banda, 23 Meli Rokoua.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Luke Price, 9 Aled Davies, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Luke Morgan.
Date: Friday, April 12
Venue: Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizebeth
Kick-off: 19.35 (18.35 UK & Ireland time; 17.35 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Ruhan Meiring (South Africa)
TMO: Sean Veldsman (South Africa)