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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Chris Cloete © Gallo Images

Another injury adds to Kings changes

There is much logic in the old mantra that you should not change a winning formula, but Southern Kings coach Deon Davids has not been afforded that luxury ahead of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Star loose-forward Chris Cloete and fullback Masixole Banda were both ruled out earlier in the week due to injuries sustained in the exciting 35-32 win over the Cell C Sharks.

On Thursday they were joined by big lock Wilhelm van der Sluys, the key man in the Kings’ lineout effort in recent weeks.

Van der Sluys was ruled out due to a groin injury that troubled him in the final team training session before the team announcement.

Van der Sluys has been replaced in the starting team by Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda, who was a newcomer to the Kings match 23 when he played off the bench against the Sharks.

How Mtyanda teams up with Irne Herbst, particularly at lineout time, could have a key impact on how the Kings fare against the technically efficient Brumbies.

Banda’s place at fullback has been taken by Namibian international and former Lions player Chrysander Botha while Cloete has been replaced by Stefan Willemse.

The openside flank role is not one that Willemse will be particularly familiar with as he has played much of his rugby for the Kings on the blindside flank, but Davids is confident he will be able to do the job against the Brumbies.

“Cloete’s performances speak for themselves. He is a quality player and it will be difficult to get the exact performance from any other player, but different players bring different attributes,” said Davids.

“In this case, Stefan Willemse combining with Andy (No 8 Andisa Ntsila) will bring something different.”

Willemse should bring an extra ball carrying option at forward, and he will add more height to the lineout, but it is Cloete’s ball winning abilities on the ground that will be missed by a Kings team that has been excellent at attacking with turn-over ball this season.

Davids agreed that Van der Sluys will also be a big loss to the Kings effort against the Brumbies.

“He has been a key man for us in the lineout. We have used (blindside flank) Tyler Paul there before and also Giant is an experienced guy. So I don’t think there will be too many disruptions. I think those guys can pull off covering for Wilhelm’s absence.”

Mzwanele Zito comes onto the bench as a replacement for Mtyanda while Mthembelani Bholi is back in the match day squad as cover at loose-forward.

Southern Kings team: Chrysander Botha, Alshaun Bock, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Cronje (captain), Louis Schreuder, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, Stefan Willemse, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Irne Herbst, Ross Geldenhuys, Martin Bezuidenhout, Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Chris Heiberg, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Mzwanele Zito, Themelani Bholi, Johan Steyn, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Nicolaas Hanekom.


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