Four Southern Kings players were rewarded for their sparkling Super Rugby form by being named in the South African A team to face the French Barbarians.
Kings captain Lionel Cronje, Chris Cloete, Andisa Ntsila and Makazole Mapimpi will face the French in two matches in Durban and Soweto next month.
Southern Kings chief operating officer Charl Crous expressed pride at the achievement of the quartet.
“We are really pleased for our players. Their selection is not only great news for the Southern Kings team, but bodes well for rugby in the region.
“This achievement is also revealing of the hard work that has been put in by our coaching staff who have managed to bring out the best in our players.
“The four are further elevated as role models for other youngsters in the region who have dreams of playing at the highest level.
“We wish Andisa, Chris, Lionel and Makazole all the best. We know that they will continue to make us proud, and we are confident that they will continue to gain higher honours in future,” Crous said.
Kings head coach Deon Davids said he was proud of the milestone achieved by his players.
“When very few people gave the Southern Kings a chance, these were some of the players who firmly believed from the onset that good things could be achieved this season by the team and individuals.
“It is rewarding to see that these players’ hard work is being recognised,” he said.
“I have watched these players and the rest of our squad work tirelessly to become better players.
“It is, therefore, just reward to see some of them already reaching such milestones. We are quite confident that they will represent the country with pride, and we look forward to watching them in the green and gold.
“Their achievement will also act as motivation for the rest of our squad to continue working hard,” Davids said.
The SA ‘A’ side will again be coached by Emirates Lions coach Johan Ackermann, who was also in charge when the team played against the England Saxons last season.
SA ‘A’ squad:
Forwards: Ruan Botha (lock) Sharks, Uzair Cassiem (loose forward) Cheetahs, Chris Cloete (loose forward) Kings, Thomas du Toit (prop) Sharks, Andries Ferreira (lock) Lions, Jason Jenkins (lock) Bulls, Wilco Louw (prop) Stormers, Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward) Sharks, Franco Marais (hooker) Sharks, Ox Nche (prop) Cheetahs, Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward) Stormers, Andisa Ntsila (loose forward) Kings, Trevor Nyakane (prop) Bulls, Ramone Samuels (hooker) Stormers.
Backs: Ruan Combrinck (wing) Lions, Lionel Cronje (flyhalf) Kings, Juan de Jongh (centre) Stormers, Warrick Gelant (fullback) Bulls, Makazole Mapimpi (wing) Kings, Lionel Mapoe (centre) Lions, Dewaldt Duvenage (scrumhalf) Stormers, Jamba Ulengo (wing) Bulls, Francois Venter (centre) Cheetahs, Jano Vermaak (scrumhalf) Stormers, Harold Vorster (centre) Lions, Fred Zeilinga (flyhalf) Cheetahs.