Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids has named his team to play the Cheetahs in Bloemfonteiin with Shane Gates as captain.
Gates takes over the Kings captaincy as regular captain Steven Sykes was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
“Steven has a grade one ligament tear in his shoulder that will rule him out for a week or two.”
Davids said Sykes had picked up the injury during the game against the Blues at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last weekend, which was aggravated during the early week training.
“He took a bit of a bump against the Blues, and then on Tuesday he felt sore during training so we sent him for a scan, and unfortunately he’s not ready to go,” he said.
Davids has had to make four changes to his starting line up due to injuries.
Schalk Oelofse comes up from the bench to fill in for Sykes at lock, while JP Jonck takes up the position at left flank in place of Chris Cloete, who is out with a knee injury. Aidon Davis comes on at 8th man, in place of CJ Velleman, who is out with a broken thumb.
At the back, Davids has brought JP du Plessis on at outside centre to fill in for Stefan Watermeyer, who is out with a tendon injury to his foot
Cornell Hess comes up onto the bench to fill the spot opened up by Oelofse starting.
Davids said the loss of Sykes, Velleman and Cloete was a big blow to the team but also meant opportunities for the other players.
“They have really been some of the workhorses in the team up to now, but it is also a great opportunity to see what players like JP Jonck and Cornell Hess can do coming in.”
“They understand the shoes they have to fill and the responsibility that comes with it and we’re confident they will step up to the plate,” he said.
Davids said the Cheetahs game was going to be tough, with the Cheetahs team selection showing a well balanced side. .
“They are desperate to put up a good performance having come off a tough tour,” he said.
“The Cheetahs are currently playing a brand of rugby that uses the width of the field and they like to attack from anywhere, where possible, so we will have to deal with that,” he said.
15. Jurgen Visser , 14. Lukhanyo Am , 13. JP du Plessis , 12. Shane Gates (C) , 11. Luzuko Vulindlu , 10. Elgar Watts , 09. James Hall , 08. Aidon Davis , 07. Thembelani Bholi , 06. JP Jonck , 05. JC Astle , 04. Schalk Oelofse , 03. Tom Botha , 02. Edgar Marutlulle (VC) , 01. Sti Sithole
Replacements : 16. Martin Ferreira , 17. Justin Ackerman , 18. Jacobie Adriaanse , 19. Cornell Hess , 20. Stefan Willemse , 21. Ntando Kebe , 22. Louis Fouche , 23. Leighton Eksteen