Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Luke to resume battle with the Bulls

He enjoyed many absorbing battles with the Vodacom Bulls when he was wearing the colours of the Stormers, but now Luke Watson faces a different challenge as he leads his new team, the Southern Kings, against the old foe in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.

Watson is back from a fairly lengthy absence due to a throat injury picked up in the Kings’ opening Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Western Force at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in February. In the time since he has been away the Kings have certainly made a few statements, and having their talismanic leader taking charge will certainly be a boost to a team that will be buoyant after their opening overseas win over the Rebels in Melbourne last week.

Few would have believed the Kings would return from their four match tour with only two defeats reflected on their record and, as well as the win over the Rebels, a draw with the log-leading Brumbies. But that is precisely what happened, and you could say that even though we haven’t reached the halfway point of the season yet, the Kings have just about achieved their target for the first season in the top flight.

Watson though is a perfectionist and he will thrive on the vibe that the Kings will have behind them as they start the second part of their home campaign against the Bulls. He has grown up as a person since moving away from South Africa to play for English club Bath, and much of the enmity towards him is out of date, but he will probably always inspire conflicting emotions, and that will probably be the case again on Saturday.

The No 8 played for the Eastern Province Kings in the Vodacom Cup win over the SWD Eagles last weekend and in that match did enough to convince the Kings management that he is ready to resume his Super Rugby career. He arrives back on the playing field just in time to stake a claim for possible inclusion in the Springbok squad, something that national coach Heyneke Meyer said on Monday he would not rule out.

The Kings were not in the mix for the first selection (for the Cape Town training camp concluded on Tuesday) because they were returning from tour, but Meyer said Kings players will be considered for future camps.

Cornell du Preez moves to openside flank to accommodate Watson, with Jacques Engelbrecht, a player that Meyer says he rates highly, again playing off the bench as the loose-forward cover. Devin Oosthuizen drops out of the squad.

SOUTHERN KINGS: George Whitehead, Sergeal Petersen, Waylon Murray, Andries Strauss, Ronnie Cooke, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter, Luke Watson (capt), Wimpie van der Walt, Cornell du Preez, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira.

Replacements: Hannes Franklin, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Nicolas Vergallo, Marcello Sampson, Siviwe Soyizwapi.


The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time


More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk

Kyle Brown
Hunting the Pearl of the Orient
Hong Kong is the host city for the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series. It is a tournament...

Brendan Venter
Old dogs, new tricks
Some may brush it off as an anomaly but I believe the 221 points and 27 tries scored during the...

Tony Johnson
It just never ends
Thirteen cards, including three reds, and 140 penalties spread over just six games.

Gavin Rich
How to remove imperfection from progress
There is general agreement that the referee and match officials on duty at Kings Park last weekend...

Brenden Nel
Bismarck at the crossroads
Gary Gold is right. Bismarck du Plessis is targeted by opposition teams.

Super Wrap
SuperWrap: Week 6, 2015
To the casual observer the story of last Saturday’s rugby will have had an all-too-familiar look to...