EXPLOSIVE Samoan and EP Kings wing Paul Perez will be unleashed on the SWD Eagles’ defence when the teams clash in a friendly in George on Friday.
The return of Perez, who will start from the bench, is one of eight changes to a Kings starting line-up that thumped a Sharks XV 50-24 in a friendly at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last week. “Paul is very excited and if he had the opportunity to play last week against the Sharks he would have,” head coach Carlos Spencer said.
“So Paul is jumping out of his skin – he is looking forward to getting back on the pitch and we are looking forward to see how he goes.”
In 2012 while playing for the Kings, Perez was in hot water after he repeatedly punched a Pumas player and was red-carded during a dramatic 26-26 drawn match.
At the time, former Kings chief executive Anele Pamba said Perez was suffering from delayed post-traumatic stress after a robbery.
Perez will now want to put that behind him and stake a strong case for inclusion in the Kings team for their Currie Cup opener against Western Province on August 8.
Baby Bok Aidon Davis, who was one of the stars when South Africa reached the final of the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand last month, starts in the place of the injured captain Luke Watson.
Watson came off the field with a rib injury after 20 minutes during the game against the Sharks.
“Luke’s injury is probably not as bad as first expected,” Spencer said. “He has come along good during the week in terms of his recovery and treatment and hopefully he can start training again next week.
“We will have to manage Luke and see how he goes with his recovery over the next few weeks.”
No decision has been made yet on who will captain the Kings against the Eagles.
But David Bulbring is thought to be among the frontrunners to take the leadership role. In other changes Jaco Grobler takes over from Tobie Botes at scrumhalf, while Gary van Aswegen gets another run at flyhalf.
Sergeal Petersen comes up from the bench to take Siviwe Soyizwapi’s spot at wing, while Dwayne Jenner returns at inside centre for Shane Gates.
Gates moves to the bench, with Spencer saying that he was being rested following a slight calf strain.
Tim Whitehead remains at outside centre, getting his third game in a row, as Ronnie Cooke is still out because of injury. Scott van Breda also gets a break, with Ntabeni Dukisa coming in at fullback.
Meanwhile, there is no loan agreement in place for Petersen to play Super Rugby at the Cheetahs next year, says EP Rugby chief executive Charl Crous.
The Kings team is: Lizo Gqoboka, Edgar Marutlulle, Charl du Plessis, David Bulbring, Steven Cummins, Paul Schoeman, Stefan Willemse, Aidon Davis, Jaco Grobler, Gary van Aswegen, Sergeal Petersen, Dwayne Jenne, Tim Whitehead, Siyanda Grey, Ntabeni Dukisa. Replacements: Albe de Swardt, Tom Botha, BG Uys, Darron Nel, Shaun McDonald, Cameron Lindsay, Kevin Luiters, George Whitehead, Shane Gates, Paul Perez, Hansie Graaff. – George Byron