Bezuidenhout expected to lead from front against Sharks
Hooker Martin Bezuidenhout will lead the EP Kings pack into battle when they face the Sharks in a Currie Cup Premier Division showdown in Durban on Saturday.
Bezuidenhout, who started from the bench when the Kings played the Cheetahs in their last match, has been promoted to the starting lineup after loan player Michael Willemse returned to Western Province.
He is also vice-captain and will be expected to lead from the front against a formidable Sharks outfit. “Martin has always been good for the Kings in Currie Cup and even in Super Rugby.
You can ask any player in the squad about Martin.
He works and works all the time,” EP coach Barend Pieterse said.
“He works at his throw-ins and general play and he brings enthusiasm to the group.We were very lucky to have a guy like Mike Willemse here, but we are also lucky to have Martin.”
The change at hooker is one of several in the starting lineup, which also see Lungile Goza starting at fullback in the place of Johann Tromp, who has returned to Namibia because of a family bereavement.
At prop, Barend Potgieter comes in for Justin Forwood, while loose forward Brandon Brown gets a start in the place of Ettiene Oosthuizen, who moves down to the bench.
In another change, centre Waylon Murray will start after recovering from a hamstring injury which has kept him out of the team in recent weeks.
“A guy like Barend Potgieter has always done well when he has come on. In the game against the Cheetahs, scrumming was not one of our strong points, but that is not because of one person,” Pieterse said.
“It was a team or unit effort that was not great. Brandon Brown is another player who deserves a deserves a start.
He had a start against Griquas and did very well.
“He has had injuries in the past but he has never given up.
“While Lungelo Goza did well for us at No 10 in the past, this time he will be at the back, where the decision making does not have to be so quick or intense.
“Pieter-Steyn De Wet did very well at No 10 against the Cheetahs to get us in the right places and his kicking was very good. So he deserves another chance.”
Sharks head coach Robert du Preez is demanding a much bigger effort from his forwards. “The set-pieces were a huge problem for us, especially the scrum, so we could never get going,” he said.
“The lineouts weren’t great either and we battled to exit our 22. You have to have a good set-piece, a good base to play from, and I think that’s where it all started.”
The Sharks have injury problems to consider for the EP game.
Captain Keegan Daniel failed a late fitness test last week, while Stephan Lewies was also ruled out, and then stand-in captain Philip van der Walt had to be stretchered off the field after a clash of heads in the opening minute.
“We were disrupted a lot, Stephan and Keegan were late withdrawals and then you lose your captain in the first minute.
“This is a young team and I think we battled to get over those player losses in the game,” Du Preez said.