RESOLUTE EP Kings skipper Stephan Zaayman says his team have put their 17-10 defeat against the Kenyan Tusker Simba XV behind them and are now focusing on tomorrow’s Vodacom Cup clash against the Border Bulldogs in Grahamstown.
“The guys are not down or anything like that. There is still a good vibe in the squad and they are looking forward to the Bulldogs clash,” Zaayman said.
Zaayman moves from eighth man to lock to pack down alongside Rynier Bernardo, who joins the team in a bid to strengthen the Kings pack and their lineout game.
Zaayman said he was comfortable at the change in position, having played there during his school career.
“We know that we have to put that game against Kenya behind us now. It is over and we have to prepare for the game ahead and we are excited about playing against Border as it is always a good derby,” he said.
“There were a lot of small mistakes we made against the Kenyans that ended up being big mistakes. This week we have concentrated on the smaller things that will have an effect on the bigger picture.
“We are looking forward to doing something different in this game,” Zaayman said.
Kings coach Mzwandile Stick said Border would be a tough nut to crack because they had a point to prove.
“You must remember that a lot of the Border guys are players who have been playing club rugby and who were not part of the Border professional structures last year.
“They will be coming to prove a point to their executive,” he said.
Looking back at the game against the Simba XV side, Stick said it had been a hard lesson to learn for some of the players, but that it had also been a necessary one.
“We knew what to expect as the coaching staff, and we had a game plan in place, but the plan was not executed by some of the players.”
He said he felt that only one of the Simba’s three tries had been deserved, with two others coming from mistakes that the EP Kings players had made.
“I think it was an important lesson for them – it’s not about the team you are playing against, it is about your own standards.
“They have learnt that they have to be professional every time they take to the field and it is good that they learnt that lesson now, rather than later on in the season,” he said.
Joining Bernardo as a new addition to the team are CJ Velleman, who was called up from the Kings Academy, and Masixole “Coyi” Banda.
Scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly, Brian Skosana and Ivan-John du Preez, who all came up from the bench last week, have also earned starting berths.
Another addition to the team is Baby Bok Aidon Davis, who comes onto the bench following a long absence because of a knee injury sustained last year.
The Kings team is: Brenden Olivier, Albe de Swardt, Vukile Sofisa, Rynier Bernardo, Stephan Zaayman (capt), Thembelani Bholi, CJ Velleman, IJ du Preez, Dwayne Kelly, Ntabeni Dukisa, Lance Louw, Tiger Mangweni, Brian Skosana, Eben Barnard, Masixole Banda. Replacements: Tabbie du Plessis, Pieter Stemmet, Aidon Davis, Siphesihle Phunguzwa, Sonwabo Majola, Sphumelelo Msuthwana, Selvyn Davids. – George Byron