Giant can add some grunt to Kings pack

RETURNS TO ROOTS: Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda at training with the Southern Kings yesterday after arriving in Port Elizabeth from the Sharks on trial Picture: RICHARD HUGGARD
RETURNS TO ROOTS: Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda at training with the Southern Kings yesterday after arriving in Port Elizabeth from the Sharks on trial
Picture: RICHARD HUGGARD

Towering lock among several players on loan

Powerful lock enforcer Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda has arrived in Port Elizabeth on trial from the Sharks to add extra grunt to the Southern Kings pack in Super Rugby.

The towering 1.99m forward trained with the Kings yesterday, but is unlikely to be considered for selection for Saturday’s match against the Sharks in Durban.

Other newcomers on trial were scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer (Sharks), centre Stokkies Hanekom (Lions) and scrumhalf Bangi Kobese (Border Bulldogs).

“We felt we were short in a few positions and we had injuries at lock and scrumhalf. So we have players on loan coming in,” Kings forwards coach Barend Pieterse said.

“Giant joins us from the Sharks and is coming back from an injury. It is more about getting some depth for us,” he said.

“Giant gives a lot of input, so it is good to have a bit of outside experience coming in to us.

“I was standing next to Lubabalo today and I can see why they call him Giant. The one thing we need in the team is some grunt.

“Last year, we were lucky to have a guy like Stephen Sykes at lock.

“The Kings have inexperienced players, especially at lock.

“They are doing well, but you will never say no to a bit of grunt, specially in your tight five,” Pieterse said.

“That is why we are looking to bringing in players, because locks Wandile Ptuma and Sintu Manjezi were injured last week.

“They only started their first field session today. That is why we had to look at someone else to give us some depth.”

Born in Port Elizabath, Mtyanda, 30, started his career coming through the youth ranks at the Mighty Elephants (now EP Kings) and made his debut for them in the 2006 Vodacom Cup competition against Western Province.

He joined the Golden Lions later in the same year, where he represented their U21 team.

Mtyanda moved to the SWD Eagles at the start of 2009, where he quickly established himself as a regular, making more than 50 appearances for the George-based union.

In 2013, he joined the Pumas prior to the Currie Cup First Division season.

Mtyanda was selected for a South Africa President’s XV team that played in the 2013 IRB Tbilisi Cup and won the tournament after winning all three matches.

Meanwhile, centre Luzuko Vulindlu, who sustained a concussion against the Stormers, is the only casualty from last weekend’s match. The 29-year-old will go through the normal concussion protocol, which requires a compulsory one week’s rest, and will therefore be unavailable for selection.

However, lock Mzwanele Zito and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder are back in training.

The pair sustained concussions against the Sunwolves in Singapore and will likely be available for selection this week.

Team doctor Konrad von Hagen is pleased with the progress being made by scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen.

He sustained an ankle injury against the Sunwolves, which required surgery, and will be out of action for up to 12 weeks.

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