After being ripped apart in two previous Super Rugby visits to the “Shark Tank”, the Southern Kings can expect another savage attack in Durban tonight (kick-off 7:30pm).
In 2013 the Sharks took huge chunks out of the Kings when they cruised to a 58-13 win, and last year the men from Port Elizabeth were on the receiving end of a 53-0 mauling.
This time Kings skipper Schalk Ferreira will be hoping the waters do not become quite so bloodied as his team strive for their first win over South African Super Rugby opposition.
“It is always difficult to go to Durban, but we are looking forward to this game,” Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
“There were aspects of our game last week against the Stormers where we did some good things, but there is also stuff that we need to tidy up,” Davids said.
“At times we do seem like we are losing against ourselves. We need to be more clinical, it’s all about executing better. It is important that we up our work ethic and do the work for 80 minutes.”
Davids has made five changes to his starting lineup following the Stormers match.
Following his debut off the bench last week, Wilhelm van der Sluys will start at lock alongside Irne Herbst.
Andisa Ntsila gets back into the starting team at No7, replacing Thembelani Bholi.
In the backline, Louis Schreuder, who has been cleared following a concussion against the Sunwolves a fortnight ago, will start at scrumhalf, while Berton Klaasen makes his way back to No 13, replacing Luzuko Vulindlu, who sustained concussion against the Stormers with wing Alshaun Bock making his Super Rugby debut.
Though the Sharks say they are not underestimating the Kings, they are using the match to rest some players and give others valuable game time. Sharks coach Robert du Preez has given untested Benhard Janse van Rensburg a chance at flyhalf ahead of more experienced candidates.
Du Preez said the next six to eight weeks would be an interesting ride for the side in the absence of Patrick Lambie, who he said was already making progress from the back injury he suffered early in the Waratahs game.
Tonight’s teams: Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Makazole Mapimpi, Berton Klaasen, Waylon Murray, Alshaun Bock, Lionel Cronje, Louis Schreuder, Ruaan Lerm, Andisa Ntsila, Chris Cloete, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Irne Herbst , Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Willemse, Schalk Ferreira (capt). Replacements: Kurt Haupt, Schalk van der Merwe, Justin Forwood, Tyler Paul, Stefan Willemse, Johan Steyn, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Johann Tromp. Sharks: Curwin Bosch‚ Kobus van Wyk‚ Lukhanyo Am‚ Andre Esterhuizen‚ Odwa Ndungane‚ Benhard Janse van Rensburg‚ Cobus Reinach‚ Lubabalo Mtembu (captain)‚ Jean-Luc du Preez‚ Jacques Vermeulen‚ Ruan Botha‚ Stephan Lewies‚ Lourens Adriaanse‚ Chiliboy Ralepelle‚ Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee‚ Juan Schoeman‚ John-Hubert Meyer‚ Etienne Oosthuizen‚ Daniel du Preez‚ Michael Claassens‚ Jeremy Ward. Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa).