Watson out of Newlands clash
The big Vodacom Super Rugby coastal derby between the DHL Stormers and the Southern Kings has been robbed of much of the interest that it was attracting by the non-availability of the visiting captain, Luke Watson.
According to a Southern Kings press release issued at lunch time on Thursday, Watson has had to pull out of the game because of flu.
The return of Watson to the Newlands stadium that he called home for five seasons was a big talking point this week, with the loose-forward saying in an interview with the Cape Times on Thursday morning that he was looking forward to running out of the tunnel with a "little smile on my face.”
Watson’s place in the starting line-up is taken by Jacques Engelbrecht, who comes back at No 8, where he has played many games for the Kings this season. Wimpie van der Walt moves from openside to blindside flank and wears the No 7 jersey that Watson would have worn, with Cornell du Preez moving from No 8 to No 6.
Centre Andries Strauss resumes the captaincy in Watson’s absence, while Darron Nell takes over the vice-captaincy as he returns after a lengthy layoff in place of Steven Sykes. Former Sharks player Sykes has a shoulder injury that will rule him out of rugby for four weeks.
Wing Siyanda Grey is out for three weeks with a hamstring injury and he has been replaced on the right wing by Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi.
There is one additional change to the side that lost to the Cheetahs last week that hasn’t been brought about by injury, with Nicolas Vergallo coming in for Shaun Venter at scrumhalf.
Hannes Franklin is the reserve hooker in place of Virgil Larcombe, who has a slight rib injury.
Southern Kings team: 15. SP Marais, 14. Siyiviwe Soyizwapi, 13. Ronnie Cooke, 12. Andries Strauss (capt), 11. Marcello Sampson, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nicholas Vergallo, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 6. Cornell du Preez, 5. David Bulbring, 4. Darron Nell, 3. Kevin Buys, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Bernado, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Shane Gates, 22 George Whitehead.