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Kings make one change for Cheetahs

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: Chris Cloete and Lubabalo Mtyanda of the Southern King celebrate during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Southern Kings at Loftus Versfeld on July 08, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Southern Kings Super Rugby head coach Deon Davids has named a team with one change for their final Super Rugby match which is against the Cheetahs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.

Both teams will not be involved in Super Rugby from next season so this will be their last clash in Super Rugby before they move on to a new tournaement.

Davids, who has led the 2017 Southern Kings side to their best season in the competition since the Eastern Cape franchise’s first involvement in Super Rugby since 2013, made just one change to his starting XV that beat the Bulls 30-31 at Loftus Versfeld last weekend.

Lock Wilhelm van der Sluys will make a return to the side after missing out of action last weekend due to a concussion, as he replaces Irne Herbst in the starting team.

In a slight positional switch, Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda, who put in a man-of-the-match winning performance in Pretoria while playing in the No5 jersey will don the No4 jersey worn by Herbst last weekend.

The rest of the starting XV remains the same.

“We are happy to have Wilhelm van der Sluys back in the team in our last week of Super Rugby after he has been a standout performer throughout the season since joining us. He will pair up with Giant Mtyanda, another player who has come to the party whenever called upon – like he did against the Bulls last weekend,” Davids said on Wednesday.

“We are fortunate to have the rest of our starting XV fully fit and we will maintain consistency. We have also kept our bench more or less the same, but will make a final decision over the next day or two over two spots on the bench because of medical reasons.

“We are monitoring Irne Herbst closely and have bracketed him with Mzwanele Zito as back up locks, while we will also make a decision between Waylon Murray and Yaw Penxe as backline cover.

Davids lauded his charges for a great season which has seen the Southern Kings make history on a number of occasions this season, including six victories in the season ahead of Friday’s clash against the Toyota Cheetahs.

“I am really proud of how this team has performed this season,” an emotional Davids said.

“I said to the guys this morning that it was hard to believe that today would be our last day training together as this same squad. I am amazed at the amount of growth we as a management team have seen in this team from the time we first got together for our pre-season.

“From the start this side showed signs of self-belief and dedication, and although many others would not have given this side a chance, they continued to work hard to ensure that we played a good brand of rugby and produced the results.

“I am immensely proud of every one of the members of this entire squad that has been part of our setup this season. It is these special group that has proven that with dedication, belief, hard work and the great team culture that we have – anything is possible. It has been an absolute pleasure being at the helm of such a special group.”

Southern Kings

15. Malcolm Jaer,14. Wandile Mjekevu,13. Berton Klaasen,12. Luzuko Vulindlu,
11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Lionel Cronje (capt),9. Louis Schreuder,8. Andisa Ntsila,7. Tyler Paul,6. Chris Cloete,5. Wilhelm van der Sluys,4. Lubabalo Mtyanda,3. Ross Geldenhuys,2. Michael Willemse,1. Mzamo Majola

Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19. Irne Herbst/Mzwanele Zito, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Rudi van Rooyen, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Waylon Murray/Yaw Penxe.