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Three Southern Kings players named in South Africa ‘A’ match-23

BY MARC JACOBSON - JUNE 15, 2017
Three Southern Kings players named in South Africa ‘A’ match-23

Three Southern Kings players have been named in the South Africa ‘A’ match-23 to face the French Barbarians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday.

The Kings’ backline pivots, flyhalf Lionel Cronje and left wing Makazole Mapimpi has been included in the starting line-up, while workmanlike eighth-man Andisa Ntsila has been named on the bench as loose-forward cover.

Specialist pilfer, Chris Cloete has been named in the squad, but will miss the first match-up against the French Barbarians due to suspension. The former Selbornian was one of the unlucky exclusions in the Springbok squad, so his comeback in the second SA ‘A’ encounter against the French will be anticipated.

In 2016, when the SA 'A' side played two games against the England Saxons, only two Kings players managed to make the cut in hooker Edgar Marutlulle and centre Lukhanyo Am, who are both now playing their trade elsewhere. Am has been flourishing at the Sharks this season, while Marutlulle has been on the fringes with the embattled Bulls.

Coach Johan Ackerman has also included seven former Springboks in the squad, namely: Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Combrinck, Jano Vermaak and Uzair Cassiem in the starting line-up, while Trevor Nyakane and Francois Venter are on the bench.

Lucky to even be in the squad, Juan de Jongh, also a former Springbok, has been named captain of the side.

Ackerman, currently a coach at the prosperous Lions, said he is keen for the challenge that awaits his side, in what he sees will be a tough, but telling challenge.

“The French Barbarians named a very strong team and we need to be pretty precise in game management and execution to keep them at bay. I do expect them to be very attack-minded as well, so we need to find the correct balance in our approach,” he told SA Rugby Magazine.

“All the players are on form and they have been training well, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make and unfortunately I could not include all the players in our squad in the team for this match, but we will make some changes next week for the encounter at Orlando Stadium to try and give everyone game time,” he added.

South Africa ‘A’ match-23 to face the French Barbarians on Friday:

15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronjé, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.

Subs: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Francois Venter 

Image: Southern Kings flyhalf, Lionel Cronje.