EP in must-win showdown with Boland Cavaliers
Elusive fullback Malcolm Jaer has been included in the EP Kings backline for their must-win SuperSport Rugby showdown against the Boland Cavaliers in Bredasdorp tomorrow.
Victory for the Kings will secure them a coveted berth in the quarterfinal and the exciting Jaer will be looking to provide attacking magic in the back division.
The Kings will be led by hooker Michael Willemse and the side travelling to Bredasdorp includes players who have played Super Rugby this season.
EP coach Robbi Kempson will want dominant displays from scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen and flyhalf Pieter-Steyn de Wet as his team chase a spot in the playoffs.
Thanks to their narrow 43-38 win over the Border Bulldogs last weekend, EP have their destiny in their own hands as they seek a second-place finish on the south pool log.
Last week, Boland crushed the Eagles 51-10 and that runaway win suggests EP can expect a tough clash against a motivated home side at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.
The log shows Western Province on top of the south log with 34 points after seven games.
They are followed by Border, 22 points from eight outings, while the Kings have 20 points from a game less.
This means that Border, who have completed their programme of eight preliminary matches, are facing an anxious wait on the sidelines.
Last week, the Kings held out for a nail-biting victory over the Border Bulldogs in an encounter that saw both teams swapping the lead in the first half.
However, once the Kings hit the lead in the second period, they never relinquished it.
An entertaining first half saw eight tries scored between the two teams, who were locked at 28-all at the break.
While the top two finishers in the three pools will have a straight passage into the quarterfinals, the remaining two places in the playoffs will go to the two third-placed finishers with the most points.
The section unlikeliest to have a third-place finisher in the last eight is surprisingly the south pool, in which competition for second place has been fierce.
Western Province, having picked up 34 of a possible 35 points from the seven games they have played, are the runaway leaders.
Strengthening that powerful position is the fact that WP play the winless SWD Eagles in their last game at the final group stages festival, which will be held in Oudtshoorn on Sunday.
Current form suggests Western Province will finish with 39 points and an even bigger points difference than the 136 they already have.
The biggest problem for the south pool teams is that whoever finishes third (22 or lower) will probably have fewer points than the other third-place finishers in the other groups.
EP Kings: Xandre Vos, Michael Willemse (capt), Roche van Zyl, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Cameron Lindsay, Brandon Brown, Thembelani Bholi, Tyler Paul, Rudi van Rooyen, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Keanu Vers, Berton Klaasen, Wandile Mjekevu, Neil Maritz, Malcolm Jaer. Replacments: Tango Balekile Chris Heiberg Mzwanele Zito Lusanda Badiyana Stefan Ungerer Waylon Murray Stokkies Hanekom. Boland Cavaliers: Divan Nel, Charlie Mayeza, Gerrit van Wyk, Edwin Sass, Sergio Torrens, Elgar Watts, Vian van der Watt, Zandre Jordaan (capt), Ludio Williams, Wayne Wilschut, Kenan Cronje, Yves Bashiya, Clinton Theron, Clemen Lewis, Arnout Malherbe. Replacements: Chadley Wenn, Linda ThwalaDylan Pieterse, McMillan Muller, Jovelian de Koker, Adriaan Carelse, Danwel Demas. Referee: Quinton Immelman Kickoff: 3pm