With the Reds in apparent disarray on and off the field, the Southern Kings will fancy their chances of picking up a rare Super Rugby win in Brisbane on Saturday (kickoff 7.05am).
In their last game, the Reds slumped to an embarrassing 43-10 defeat against the Brumbies in Canberra after they capitulated in the second half. It was their sixth straight defeat and followed talk of unhappiness in the Reds’ dressingroom.
Reds captain Stephen Moore described their performance against the Brumbies as embarrassing . Though the Kings were also beaten in their last game, 46-41 by the Western Force, they left Perth with their heads held high.
Flying fullback Malcolm Jaer, who scored three of the Kings’ six tries against the Force, has been ruled out of the game due to injury.
The fullback sustained a knee injury in the build-up to the Reds clash.
Jaer will now travel back to South Africa where he will see a specialist in Port Elizabeth and undergo further scans to ascertain the nature of the injury.
Kings head coach Deon Davids expressed his disappointment with the loss of the fullback.
“Unfortunately, we have also lost a star player from last week, Malcolm Jaer, with a knee injury. He will be returning to South Africa to be properly assessed,” Davids said.
The injury to Jaer has given an opportunity for another elusive fullback, Masixole Banda, to return to the starting XV after missing out on a spot in the team against the Force.
“We are lucky to have Masixole Banda in the squad, who can replace him [Jaer],” the coach said. “He has been exposed to this level of rugby in the first few weeks of the competition. He is looking forward to regaining that opportunity at No 15.”
Banda’s inclusion in the team is the only change Davids has made to the backline after last weekend’s heartening performance. In the forward pack, the coach made three rotational changes to the side. In the front row, Chris Heiberg gets his first start of the season and he exchanges spots with Schalk van der Merwe at tighthead prop. In the second row, Mzwanele Zito gets a starting berth at No 4 with Irne Herbst going to the bench.
Tyler Paul will also start in the No 7 jersey, replacing Andisa Ntsila, who will be on the bench. Justin Forwood, who was a late inclusion last weekend following the neck injury to Ross Geldenhuys, will again be given an opportunity to start.
“At this stage of the tournament it becomes important that you manage the load of the players effectively,” Davids said.
“It’s been a tough week for us. Therefore, we need to rotate our players in certain positions, which is what we have done. “The Reds are a quality side with a lot of international players in their squad. It is going to be important for us to minimise our mistakes and use our opportunities more effectively.”
Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Cronje (c), Louis Schreuder, Ruan Lerm Tyler Paul, Chris Cloete, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Mzwanele Zito, Justin Forwood, Michael Willemse, Chris Heiberg. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Schalk van der Merwe, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Irne Herbst, Andisa Ntsila, Johan Steyn, Wandile Mjekevu, Pieter-Steyn de Wet.
Reds: Karmichael Hunt, Izaia Perese, Samu Kerevi (captain), Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Quade Cooper, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Hendrik Tui, Lukhan Tui, Rob Simmons, Sam Talakai, Alex Mafi, Sef Fa’agase.Replacements: Andrew Ready, Kirwan Sanday, Taniela Tupou, Kane Douglas, Adam Korczyk, Nick Frisby, Hamish Stewart, Chris Kuridrani.