Injuries pose selection riddle for stand-in Kings mentor

Barend Pieterse

Interim Southern Kings head coach Barend Pieterse is facing selection headaches ahead of his team’s PRO14 clash against the Ospreys in Swansea on Friday.

After a heavy 59-10 defeat against Ulster, some of Pieterse’s players found themselves in the medical room at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium.

Pieterse is standing in for head coach Deon Davids, who did not travel with the team to Europe because of undisclosed medical reasons.

It is still unclear whether Davids will fly to Wales ahead of Friday’s clash to take charge of the Kings’ preparations.

Following the Belfast clash, Kings team doctor Clement Plaatjies reported that scrumhalf Rowan Gouws and prop forward Dayan van der Westhuizen had sustained ankle injuries.

“We’ll only be sure of their availability in the next day or two once we’ve had a chance to see how they respond to treatment but Rowan’s ankle ligament sprain, in particular, is cause for concern,” Plaatjies said.

There are also concerns around the fitness of flyhalf Martin du Toit, who was forced to leave the field late in the game against Ulster with a recurrence of his stiff lower back injury.

This back problem has been worrying Du Toit for some time, but Plaatjies is confident the pivot will be fit to face the Ospreys.

If Du Toit fails to recover, then the promising young Barend Janse van Rensburg is likely to pull on the No 10 jersey.

Janse van Rensburg came off the bench late in the game and kicked a conversion after Harlon Klaasen’s try in the 68th minute.

Pieterse has vowed that his winless team will continue working hard at their game as they bid for an elusive first win.

The Kings were outscored by nine tries to one in Cardiff as they slumped to a 14th consecutive defeat.

It was a result that left the Kings stranded at the bottom of the PRO14 log with only four to show from 14 games.

After their game against the Ospreys, the Kings round off their European tour with a tough game against Conference B table toppers Leinster in Dublin.

Like the Kings, Ospreys have found life in the PRO14 tough this season and are second from bottom of Conference A with only four wins from 14 outings.

In their last outing, the Ospreys slumped to their 10th defeat of the season when they went down 26-15 to Connacht in Galway.

So far the Ospreys have leaked 40 tries, while only managing to score 22 tries in what has been a testing campaign for the Welshmen.

This is the first meeting between the sides who are in different conferences.

Friday’s game in Swansea kicks off at 9.35pm and will be shown live on SS1.

Leave a Reply