Ricochet News

VIDEO: Southern Kings confident ahead of their clash against Cell C Sharks this weekend

By Marc Jacobson - May 12, 2017
VIDEO: Southern Kings confident ahead of their clash against Cell C Sharks this weekend

The Southern Kings are set to host their next Super Rugby clash against the Cell C Sharks at the NMB Stadium on Saturday, and much up-hype has staked the build-up to the encounter.

In their past two outings, the Kings have produced some stellar performances which included the historical 26-24 win over 2014 Super Rugby Champions, the Waratahs in Sydney three weeks ago, before thrashing the Melbourne Rebels 44-3 at the NMB Stadium two weeks ago.

With these resounding performances of late, the Kings have somewhat illuminated the South African rugby scene, especially with all the doom and gloom surrounding the Stormers, Cheetahs and Bulls recently; and as a result the campaign, #FillOurStadium was launched to get Port Elizabeth locals to action out their support come Saturday.

The campaign, although a good initiative to get the masses behind the Eastern Cape side, has not distracted Coach Deon Davids and his charges from still preparing for the game at hand against the Durban powerhouse, the Sharks on Saturday.

“I think our guys are quite focused in terms of what we want to achieve and what we want to do. We just want to build on that feeling of excitement and energy from all the support and the more support we get, the more encouragement we will receive for the guys to do better,” Davids told media at the team announcement at the NMB Stadium on Thursday.

“We are very aware of the campaign, but we were focused on what we want to do and we will narrow that focus down until Saturday,” Davids added.

Regarding the Sharks scrumming unit with the likes of Springboks Beast Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen and the rising Thomas du Toit, Davids emphasized that he feels his Kings’ tight-plays have made a step-up over recent weeks for the challenge.

“I’m confident that our guys will be able to compete in that regard, but the guys see it as the next challenge to do well and a challenge for themselves against a proper opposition,” he said.

“Not to highlight individuals, but scrumming is all about teamwork, for eight guys working together to get good go-forward.”

The Kings, currently in their third Super Rugby Season since 2013, have since managed to beat three Australian sides (Western Force, Rebels and Waratahs) while drawing one to the Brumbies in 2013, and had in the same year beaten a New Zealand side (Highlanders).

The Kings have also managed to conjure up wins against Argentina’s Jaguares in 2016 and Japan’s Sunwolves both in 2016 and 2017, but have still to date never managed to beat a fellow South African side in a total 18 clashes since 2013.

The closest they came to upending an SA side was their narrow 19-17 defeat to the Sharks just over two months ago, and for that reason, the #FillOurStadium campaign for this weekend’s encounter was accentuated.

Captain and flyhalf, Lionel Cronje, although only joining the Kings this season, expresses that the barrier the Kings need to cross in this regard, is more psychological than metaphysical.

“I think the biggest psychological battle is to get to a winning culture, and developing our own culture from the pre-season into the campaign,” Cronje said at the same media presser.

“We just need to make sure that we can start winning games and getting into the position to best win these respective games and we can only focus on staying positive in our own camp and keep working on our strengths and making sure we can keep executing that.”

“The results will start taking care of themselves and it won’t matter whether an opposing team is from South Africa, Australia or New Zealand,” Cronje added.

Proceedings on Saturday will begin with a match between the EP Academy and Stellenbosch Academy on the B-field at 12:30.

A curtain-raiser between EP Kings and Border Bulldogs, who will battle it out in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash, will kick-off at 14:30 on the Main Field. The main match will kick-off at 17:15.

The Southern Kings squad to take on the Cell C Sharks is:

15. Masixole Banda

14. Wandile Mjekevu

13. Berton Klaasen

12. Luzuko Vulindlu

11. Makazole Mapimpi

10. Lionel Cronje (capt)

9. Louis Schreuder

8. Andisa Ntsila

7. Tyler Paul

6. Chris Cloete

5. Wilhelm van der Sluys

4. Irne Herbst

3. Ross Geldenhuys (v/c)

2. Martin Bezuidenhout

1. Schalk van der Merwe

Replacements:

16. Kurt Haupt / Tango Balekile

17. Chris Heiberg

18. Dayan van der Westhuizen

19. Lubabalo Mtyanda

20. Stefan Willemse

21. Johan Steyn

22. Pieter-Steyn de Wet

23. Nicolaas Hanekom

Image: From left, Captain Lionel Cronje, Coach Deon Davids and new replacement lock, Lubabalo 'Giant' Mtyanda.

Watch for the overview of the team announcement presser held at the NMB Stadium on Thursday, ahead of their clash against the Sharks on Saturday.