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Sykes cleared to lead Kings against Lions

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Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids has named a team with nine changes for this Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

There was doubt over whether Steven Sykes would be able to play this week after suffering from concussion sustained against the Bulls has been cleared to start and captain the side.

Sykes does however make a positional change to right lock, while Schalk Oelofse comes up from the bench to left lock, to rotate with JC Astle.

In the tight five sees Schalk Ferreira starts in place of Sti Sithole at loosehead, Martin Ferreira in pace of Edgar Marutlulle at hooker.

Marutlulle is out with a knee injury, while Sithole is batting with an elbow injury.

Jacobie Adriaanse returns to tighthead – having recovered from a rib injury – in place of Tom Botha, who moves to the bench,

Chris Cloete retains his position at 6 flank, and is joined by Thembelani Bholi, who makes his return from a knee injury in place of Stefan Willemse.

CJ Velleman comes up from the bench in place of Aidon Davis at 8th man. , At the back, the scrumhalf and flyhalf pairing remain the same, with James Hall and Louis Fouche respectively.

Davids has, however, moved Malcolm Jaer to fullback in place of Jurgen Visser, which see’s JP du Plessis move up from the bench to start at left wing.

Shane Gates returns from a foot injury that saw him sit out the Bulls game, and will once again be vice captain. Gates replaces Watermeyer, who moves to the

Lukhanyo Am retains his spot at outside centre, with Luzuko Vulindlu staying on at right wing.

On the bench, the forwards reserves includes replacement Martin Bezuidenhoudt, Jacques Engelbrecht and Justin Ackerman, along with Botha and Astle.

Backs reserves are Ntando Kebe, Stefan Watermeyer and Leighton Eksteen.

Southern Kings

15. Malcolm Jaer , 14. Luzuko Vulindlu , 13. Lukhanyo Am , 12. Shane Gates , 11. JP du Plessis , 10. Louis Fouche , 09. James Hall , 08. CJ Velleman , 07. Thembelani Bholi , 06. Chris Cloete , 05. Steven Sykes (C) , 04. Schalk Oelofse , 03. Jacobie Adriaanse , 02. Martin Ferreira , 01. Schalk Ferreira

Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhoudt , 17. Tom Botha , 18. Justin Ackerman , 19. JC Astle , 20. Jacques Engelbrecht , 21. Ntando Kebe , 22. Stefan Watermeyer , 23. Leighton Eksteen

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