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Preview: Kings need their experience to get good go-forward

By Marc Jacobson - Feb 24, 2017
Preview: Kings need their experience to get good go-forward

Looking clinical in their captain’s run, playing shadow rugby with stream moves and pod dispersion, the Southern Kings are set to face a stern test when they front up against the disguised Argentina, the Jaguares on Saturday.

A true test of set pieces can only come against that of an overly qualified opposition, while the impact of drilling against a defensive string can always question where the team’s prospects lie.

The lock pairing of Irne Herbst and Mzwanele Zito are both set to make their Super Rugby debuts on Saturday, which begs their potential at line-out time against an Argentinean pack priding themselves in all facets of forward play.

However, overbearing or not, the test will most certainly snag a true sense of character for the pairing duo. There is a fine balance at midfield, as fellow debutant, Berton Klaasen, is paired up with the experienced Waylon Murray – who has obtained all tastes of top flight rugby.

Bouncing over the South African rugby landscape, Murray has achieved a total of 49 Super Rugby caps for the Sharks and 68 for their Currie Cup outfit, 19 for the Golden Lions, 14 for the Lions Super Rugby side and 14 for the Blue Bulls. To date, Murray has collected eight Super Rugby caps for the Southern Kings in the 2013 season, so his experience alongside a debutant will be key.

This is backed up by Makazole Mapimpi, also making his debut, but winging it with Malcolm Jaer on the opposite end, who had gained various levels of ascendency last season in the Super Rugby campaign, despite his underwhelming size.

The newly recruited Chrysander Botha, certainly does not lack the professional experience after racking up 40 test caps for Namibia, six for the Golden Lions and six for the England Premiership’s Exeter Chiefs over two seasons.

Botha certainly will, however, feed off the Super Rugby experience given by Jaer and Murray for their back-play on Saturday, while commanding the back-line, newly recruited into the Kings but plentiful of experience, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and flyhalf, Lionel Cronje will bridge any gaps left in the outfit.

Not only does the half-back pair have the responsibility of delegating the backline, but also forming the link and flow between the forwards and backs, so their roles will play an integral part come Saturday.

Cronje has collected seven caps for the Stormers, 21 for Western Province, five for the Bulls, 10 for the Golden Lions, three for the Brumbies, 18 for the Sharks in the Currie Cup and seven in Super Rugby. Schreuder, after being more devoted to one union, has racked up a total 55 caps for Western Province and 66 for the Stormers.

The numbers speak for themselves, but after all, they are just numbers – therefore the experienced personnel need to put their hands up primarily, in order for the players around them to rejuvenate some sort of go-forward.

The match kicks off at 17:15 on Saturday, 25th February at the NMB Stadium.

Image: Southern Kings huddled up in their captain's run at the NMB Stadium on Friday morning.

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