Schalk returns for Kings
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Kings have made four changes to for their Pro14 clash against Irish side, Ulster, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.
Two changes in the Kings forwards pack will see the side’s most capped player, Schalk Ferreira, making his first start of the new season at loosehead prop, while John-Charles Astle will start at No.5 alongside lock partner Schalk Oelofse.
Fullback, Michael Botha, who was ruled out of last weekend’s match against Dragons due to a groin injury, will be back in the No15 jersey after making a full recovery.
The versatile Yaw Penxe shifts from the fullback to right wing for the match, replacing Michael Makase, who is out of the match-day squad for this week.
The other change in the backline will see Godlen Masimla starting ahead of Rudi van Rooyen, who moves to the bench, at scrumhalf.
The Port Elizabeth-based Kings are keen to get their home leg of the competition off to a good start after opening the campaign with two matches on the road against Zebre (Italy) and Dragons (Wales)
“This is our first home game for the new season. We are really looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd,” Head Coach Deon Davids said ahead of the clash.
“The guys showed some enthusiasm on the road, but were rusty in the first game, and last week we had a very slow start. So now we just have to keep building on the positive stuff,”
Centre, Berton Klaasen, also expressed his enthusiasm at playing the first match of the season at home.
“We are excited to play at home. We always get a lift from playing in PE. When we travel overseas the stadiums are often much smaller than ours here back home, and that can, at times, be intimidating,” he said.
The visiting Ulster side will arrive at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the back of two victories in their opening matches. On their last visit to the Bay, the Irish side emerged as 36-43 winners following the close encounter.
The home side is expecting nothing less than another heated exchange between the two sides.
“Our previous encounter against Ulster was a close and tough one. I’m certain that they will come out guns blazing, and we are aware that they are a real quality team. We are going to have to step it up this weekend,” said Klaasen.
Kings: 15 Michael Botha, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klassen, 12 Berton Klassen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Martin Du Toit, 23 Ntabeni Dukisa.
Date: Sunday, September 16
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 14.15 (12.15 GMT, 13.15 Ireland time)
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)