Gates can open it up for Kings

George Byron

IT WOULD appear as though the Southern Kings are set to pin their faith in the exciting young Shane Gates to fill the boots of injured centre Andries Strauss for their vital Super Rugby promotion-relegation duel against the Lions on Friday.

At a gruelling training session yesterday, it appeared as though Gates was being primed to partner regular centre Ronnie Cooke for the make-or-break showdown at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Kings suffered a major blow on Friday when first-choice inside centre and captain Strauss broke his left hand in training.

Gates, rated as one of the most exciting prospects in South African rugby, now looks set to play the most important match of his career on Friday.

The 20-year-old looked sharp in training yesterday and he could provide the extra thrust the Kings are looking for ahead of the big showdown.

The other option the Kings have is to draft in Springbok Waylon Murray, but Gates would appear to have the inside track.

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