Strauss returns to captain Kings
Former Sharks and Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss is back in the Southern Kings starting team and will captain a strengthened combination against the Wellington Hurricanes in a Vodacom Super Rugby match in Wellington on Saturday.
Strauss led the Kings for much of the opening game against the Western Force in Port Elizabeth and impressed with his leadership skills after taking over from injured regular captain Luke Watson before halftime.
However, Darron Nell captained against the Sharks in the following match and Strauss has been out injured subsequently, so this is the first time he will start a game as the appointed leader.
He replaces New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield. Also back is lock Steven Sykes, with the former Sharks player returning after missing the opening tour match against Crusaders in Christchurch last week as he was still suffering the after-effects to a blow he sustained in the previous match against the Chiefs.
He replaces Kenyan Daniel Adongo in the second row. Nell, like Watson, stayed home in South Africa and was not considered for selection.
Apart from the continued absence of SP Marais, who played the first few games at fullback before being injured in the match against the Chiefs, the backline looks close to full strength, with most of the players having played all the games so far.
The Kings played with character in going down 55-20 to the Crusaders six days ago but will be looking to win more possession and cut out some of the elementary errors that played into their opponents hands in Christchurch.
The Hurricanes will provide a similar challenge to what the Crusaders did in that they also enjoy using the width of the field.
It was something the Kings struggled with a bit last time out, so it will be interesting to see if they have managed to apply what they learned from that game.
SOUTHERN KINGS: 15. George Whitehead, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Ronnie Cook, 12. Andries Strauss (captain), 11. Marcello Sampson, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 6. Devin Oosthuizen, 5. David Bullbring, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Kevin Buys, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16. Hannes Franklin, 17. Grant Kemp, 18. Rynier Bernado, 19. Daniel Adongo, 20. Nicolas Vergallo, 21. Waylon Murray, 22. Hadleigh Parkes.