Double injury blow for Kings
The Southern Kings will head to Cape Town this weekend for their first ever Vodacom Super Rugby clash with their coastal neighbours, the Stormers, missing two key players because of injury.
Southern Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons, has confirmed that wing Siyanda Grey and lock Steven Sykes were both casualties of last weekend’s 34-22 defeat to the Toyota Cheetahs at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Of the two, Sykes may be the more missed player as his experience was going to be much needed against the Stormers’ in-form Springbok Eben Etzebeth.
Even though he wouldn’t necessarily be marking Etzebeth, who played in the Stormers No 5 jersey last week but has played regularly in the past as a No 4 lock, Sykes would have been the man the Kings tight-forwards would have been looking to to match the Etzebeth thrust.
Grey, who has a hamstring injury, came off in the second half against the Cheetahs, while Sykes got through the entire game even though he had hurt his shoulder in the 67th minute.
The reason the former Sharks player stayed on was because the Kings' bench had been emptied of its entire forward component.
Sykes has been ruled out for four weeks, but that is not a train smash at this stage as Super Rugby takes a three-week break after this weekend’s round of matches for the international window.
So he should be back for the first game in the last segment of three in the last week of June, or at worst for the return clash with the Stormers in Port Elizabeth in early July.
Grey is also out for three weeks. Props Kevin Buys and Schalk Ferreira are both undergoing medical attention this week as they are carrying slight injuries but neither of them are serious enough to be ruled out of selection contention.
Ferreira is one of several Kings players, with skipper Luke Watson, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and flank Wimpie van der Walt, who will be returning for the first time as members of an opposition team at what used to be their home ground.
The Stormers took the day off from training on Monday and will start their build-up to Saturday’s match on Tuesday. It’s not known at this stage whether there are any new injury concerns to a squad that has been plagued by injuries all season.