Sunwolves, Kings in fight for first win

Two of Super Rugby’s bottom-ranked teams will get to grips in what promises to be a basement battle arm wrestle in Singapore today (kick-off 12.55pm). Winless after defeats in the opening round of the competition, the Southern Kings and Sunwolves will be desperate to get their respective campaigns up and running.

Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids is expecting the Sunwolves to up their game after they were thrashed 83-17 by the Hurricanes in their last outing. In their opening game the Kings went down 39-26 against the Jaguares at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. “We will make a huge mistake going out there and thinking it will be an easy game and we can just build on our success over them last year,” Davids said.

“I would not read a lot into the performance of the Sunwolves last week. They played a quality side and the champions in the Hurricanes.

“They will also be out to prove they are a better team than the score against the Hurricanes showed. “The Kings will really have to be on top of their game and adapt as quickly as possible to the conditions to ensure that we get a good result.”

Davids said lessons had been learnt during the defeat against the Jaguares.

“We need to understand how to control the momentum of the game. When you do something positive you have to triple on those positives.

“If you do something negative you have to work as hard as possible to turn that negative into a positive and regain possession, control and momentum.

“This is the learning school for Super Rugby for these guys. When you make a mistake and you don’t correct things as quickly as possible, the opposition will capitalise on it and you will stand behind the poles.

“I was excited by the way the guys stood up. Also, when the bench came on, and they fought hard to get us back into the game “We look at this game as an opportunity for us to get a win. The Kings will approach this game to improve in terms of from where we were. “The team will go there with the idea that we want to win this game.”

A concussion to lock Irne Herbst against the Jaguares has forced the team to go into the match against the Sunwolves with a new second row pairing. Tyler Paul, who came off the bench last week, replaces Herbst and partners up with Mzwanele Zito for the lock combination.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that centre Stokkies Hanekom will join the Kings on loan from the Lions for the duration of this year’s Super Rugby competition.

Today’s teams:
Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Makazole Mapimpi, Berton Klaasen, Waylon Murray, Malcolm Jaer, Lionel Cronje, Louis Schreuder, Ruaan Lerm, StefanWillemse, Andisa Ntsila, Mzwanele Zito, Tyler Paul, Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Willemse, Schalk Ferreira (capt). Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Schalk van der Merwe, Justin Forwood, Thembelani Bholi, Chris Cloete, Rudi van Rooyen, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Luzuko Vulindlu.

Sunwolves: Shota Emi, Takaaki Nakazuru, Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, Kenki Fukuoka, Hayden Cripps, Fumiaki Tanaka, Willie Britz, Shokei Kin, Ed Quirk, Sam Wykes, Liaki Moli, Heiichiro Ito, Shota Horie (captain), Masataka Mikami. Replacements: Takeshi Hino, Koki Yamamoto, Takuma Asahara, Kotaro Yatabe, Shuhei Matsuhashi, Keisuke Uchida, Will Tupou, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi. Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen.

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