Southern Kings bolstered by trio loaned from Griquas
Try-Hungry wing Alshaun Bock, rated among the most deadly finishers in South African rugby, is among three Griquas players loaned by the Southern Kings to boost their Super Rugby squad.
Apart from the speedy Bock, the Kings have also acquired Griquas scrumhalf Rudi “Poerie” van Rooyen and lock Mzwanele Zito as they continue to grow their squad.
Another new signing is EP Kings and Baby Bok hooker Tango Balekile.
It was also announced that Ntabeni Dukisa, from Border, would be on loan to the Kings, while Lionel Cronje has been drafted into the squad.
Cronje, from Queen’s College, will bring invaluable experience to the Southern Kings backline.
He has Super Rugby experience for the Stormers, Sharks and the Brumbies.
“I am happy to have all these players here in Port Elizabeth,” head coach Deon Davids said.
“They are all excited about playing for the Kings and having this opportunity.
They all want to get going.
“They also understand that it will be very hard work to make the next step up. We are looking forward to seeing their progress going forward. “We have many promising youngsters in our squad, which makes the addition of Lionel very important, as he’ll bring experience and a cool head to a very important position in the backline,” Davids said.
Dukisa spent two seasons with Eastern Province before moving to Griquas, where he has played for the last two years.
Van Rooyen came through the junior ranks at the Blue Bulls before moving to Griquas, where he has been one of their scrumhalf options since 2014.
Davids said two more players from the EP Academy had been invited to train with the Kings’ extended squad.
They are Lusanda Badiyana (flank) and David Murray (prop).
“We are moving closer to finalising our squad, but it’s a long process and we don’t want to leave any stone unturned before we make the final calls,” Davids said.
“The players who are on trial with us are in the running for the remaining positions and we’re very keen to see what they can offer before finalising the squad.”
“It is really great to have so many players who have their roots here, or who have represented the unions of this region, return and form part of our squad.”
“The Kings are all about ensuring that we bring the talented players from the region through. “If you look at our squad now there are more than 20 players who have a history with the area. It is important for us to do that.”
“We also want to build with some of the players from last year’s Super Rugby.”
The 20-year-old Balekile, who was born in East London, also has close ties to the region.
Prior to last season, Balekile moved to Port Elizabeth to join the EP Kings Academy.
He was included in the EP U19 squad that season. At the start of the year, Balekile played for the NMMU Madibaz in the Varsity Cup competition.
In March, he was included in a South Africa U20 training squad.
In between training with the SA team he returned to the EP Kings to make a single appearance for them in the Currie Cup qualification series.
The team will have a break over the festive season from December 22 to January 9 before they regroup for a series of warm – up matches against Border, the Stormers and SWD Eagles.