Holding try-machine Makazole Mapimpi of the Cheetahs at bay will be crucial for the Southern Kings if they want to snap an 11-game PRO14 losing streak tomorrow.
The Southern Kings will be well aware of the attacking threat posed by the explosive Mapimpi because he starred for them in Super Rugby before relocating to Bloemfontein.
Mapimpi has been in brilliant form for the Cheetahs in their maiden PRO14 season, scoring nine sparkling tries in 11 matches – to lead the tournament’s scoring charts. After tomorrow’s match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Mapimpi will play his final game for the Cheetahs in the return clash against the Southern Kings in Bloemfontein next Saturday.
Mapimpi is leaving the Cheetahs to play Super Rugby for the Sharks, where he says he wants to test himself against New Zealand and Australian opposition.
“It would be wrong for us to focus on one player and we know the threat Mapimpi poses and what he can bring,” Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
“We will have to make sure that Mapimpi does not get time and space.
“We know he is very strong as a ball carrier, so we have to be very accurate and ensure that we keep him at bay.
“Hopefully, the boys will also have something to say to him that will keep him honest.” Davids has made several changes to the team that lost to Edinburgh last week, with the most notable being at scrumhalf and flyhalf.
“At No 9, Rowan Gouws comes in to take the place of Rudi van Rooyen,” Davids said.
“Oliver Zono is back after injury and takes the place of Kurt Coleman at flyhalf.
“Wing Anthony Volmink returns to the side after attending to personal commitments and Michael Makase is back at No 14, after recovering from injury.”
There has been a double change at lock, with Stephan Greeff and Bobby de Wee coming back into the side in a rotational move to the places of Juri van Vuuren and Dries van Schalkwyk.
Hooker Michael Willemse, who captained the side at the start of the season, has been included on the bench after recovering from a long injury.
“It is fantastic to have Michael back – and he and Schalk Ferreira are playing a tremendous role for the team,” Davids said.
“We know that in the second half we have someone who can pull things together for us.
“At this stage, we are trying to phase Michael back into the competition and we will make a decision on suitable game time for him.”
Other new faces on the bench are props Dayan van der Westhuizen (tighthead) and Johan Smith (loosehead), who has played for the Leopards.
The Southern Kings team is: No 1 to No 15 – Schalk Ferreira, Stephan Coetzee, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Greeff, Bobby de Wee, Eital Bredenkamp, Tienie Burger, Ruaan Lerm, Rowan Gouws, Oliver Zono, Anthony Volmink, Martin du Toit, Berton Klaasen, Michael Makase and Yaw Penxe. Replacements: Michael Willemse, Johan Smith, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Lindokuhle Welemu, Freddy Ngoza, Rudi van Rooyen, Ntabeni Dukisa and Harlon Klaasen.