Injury crisis elevates Schroeder into the starting lineup for Kings
An injury crisis has propelled live-wire scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder into the Southern Kings starting lineup to face the Stormers at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tomorrow (kickoff 3.05pm).
After failing to make the squad for his team’s opening two matches, Schroeder now has a golden chance to shine on the big stage in his long-awaited Super Rugby debut.
The Kings paid a heavy price for their 37-23 win over the Sunwolves in Singapore when they lost both scrumhalves to injury last week.
First to go was Louis Schreuder and not long afterwards Poerie van Rooyen also went off injured, which left PieterSteyn de Wet to fill the gap at the base of the scrum.
“At scrumhalf there were forced changes with regard to injury,” Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
“The guys understand they have to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“It is all about performance in the jersey.”
“Ricky has been knocking on the door in terms of that and I am glad that he gets his opportunity now and he has to take it and make it worthwhile.”
Johan Steyn has also been elevated and will cover No 9 from the bench.
“Each guy has unique style and strength that he brings to the team,” Davids said.
“These guys are very, very enthusiastic and very happy for this opportunity. It is now up to them to step up and fill the shoes of Louis and Poerie.”
Davids has made five changes, and a positional switch for what promises to be a hard-fought showdown.
Burly lock Irne Herbst returns after recovering from a concussion that ruled him out of last weekend’s clash with the Sunwolves in Singapore.
The Kings will also begin the match with a new flank combination, with Chris Cloete and Thembelani Bholi getting their first starts of the season.
Hard-running centre Luzuko Vulindlu, who came off the bench in the Kings’ first two matches of the season, will start in a rotational switch which sees Berton Klaasen moving to the bench.
Vulindlu will start in the No 12 jersey and the experienced Waylon Murray, who played at inside centre in the past two matches, moves to outside centre
Kings captain Schalk Ferreira said he was expecting the Stormers to play a running game.
“What we have seen from the Stormers this season is that they like to counter-attack and run the ball, he said.
“Their set pieces are quite good and we know the strengths that they bring.
“But as our coach has said, we are focusing on the execution of our own game plan.”
The stadium’s business development manager Raaziq Poole said many fun-filled activities had been planned for the day.
The activities start at 1pm, when the gates open, and continue until 7pm.
“This is one of the big derbies for us to host, so we have a full family fun day of activities that will take place,” Poole said.
“We have also teamed up with Future Kings, who will have an activation on our B-field, with about 400 kids who will participate.
“We will also have a fun Fan Park with DJs until 7pm.”
The Kings team:
Masixole Banda, Makazole Mapimpi, Waylon Murray, Luzuko Vulindlu, Malcolm Jaer, Lionel Cronje, Ricky Schroeder, Ruaan Lerm, Thembelani Bholi, Chris Cloete, Irne Herbst, Tyler Paul, Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Willemse, Schalk Ferreira (capt). Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Schalk van der Merwe, Chris Heiberg, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Andisa Ntsila, Johan Steyn, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Berton Klaasen