ASSERTIVE Southern Kings head coach Robbi Kempson says his team will not be there just to “make up the numbers” when they face the Stormers in a Super Rugby friendly at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tonight (kick-off 7pm).
“If we can build on what we have achieved in the past two weeks against the Cheetahs and Lions, we are going to go out there and give them a good run for their money,” Kempson said.
“The Stormers will want to make a statement to the rest of the country as to where they are at in their preparations. I think the opening 20 or 30 minutes will be something to behold.
“We understand it is a challenge and will be a very different one to the previous two games, but we are not here to make up the numbers.”
The Kings have named a revamped team for the clash and will be missing regular skipper Darron Nell, who was not considered because of an elbow injury.
“A win for the Kings would be massive in the context of what we are trying to build. Things have gone well in the first two games, but the Stormers will be a different kettle of fish.”
The duel between former Southern Kings flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and his opposite number George Whitehead could play a big role in the eventual outcome.
Another former Kings star, Scott van Breda, is also returning to his home ground and he will pose problems for his old teammates.
Kempson says there has been a remarkable change in the mindset of his players from last season.
“We have a few fresh players and the way they play has added to that,” he said. “The only way we can change perceptions is the manner in which we play. In the past few games we have done that by playing in a sporting manner.
“But we have played attractive rugby at the same time so we are trying to change perceptions. We don’t want to be the EP of old. We are trying to build something new.
“The Stormers base a lot of what they do on defence, so that offers a much bigger challenge than the previous two games where the opposition defence was perhaps a bit more loose.
“We have got avenues which we can explore against the Stormers, but it is up to our forward pack.
“If they do not front up, the rest of the game will be very difficult.
“If we get the measure of their forward pack it will allow our backs more space and time,” Kempson said.
“Backline coach Carlos Spencer has made some changes because he wants to see what he has got out there.”
Sonwabo Majola will start at scrumhalf which means that Jaco Grobler, who impressed in the opening matches, moves to the bench.
The curtain-raiser is between Spring Rose and Police and will kick off at 4.30pm.
Southern Kings: Brendon Oliver, Albe de Swardt, Charl du Plessis, Steven Sykes, Rynier Bernardo, Paul Schoeman, Stephan Zaayman, Devin Oosthuizen, Sonwabo Majola, George Whitehead, Eben Barnard, Shane Gates, Dwayne Jenner, Sergeal Petersen, Sviwe Soyizwapi. Replacements: JC Oberholzer, Lizo Gqoboka, Pieter Stemmet, Stephan Greeff, Thembelani Bholi, Kevin Kaba, Tyler Paul, Jaco Grobler, Ronnie Cooke, Michael Killian, Brian Skosana.
Stormers: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk, Michael van der Spuy, Damian de Allende, Scott van Breda, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger (captain), Siya Kolisi, Manuel Carizza, Rynhardt Elstadt, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Deon Fourie, Oliver Kebble, Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Jean Kleyn, Nizaam Carr, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Louis Schreuder, Gary van Aswegen, Pat Howard, Devon Williams, Ryno Eksteen.