Welcome boost for the Kings

Players return from injury for Edinburgh clash

Strong-running centre Berton Klaasen is back in the Isuzu Southern Kings squad to face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Strong-running centre Berton Klaasen is back in the Isuzu Southern Kings squad to face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Desperate to pull themselves up by their bootstraps after a poor start to their Guinness PRO14 campaign, the Isuzu Southern Kings have been given a much-needed player boost.

Back in the Kings squad for their clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday are hooker Michael Willemse, centre Berton Klaasen, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and flyhalf Martin du Toit.

The return of several players from injury will hopefully provide the Kings with a new cutting edge.

Pretorius joined the Kings from the Newport-based Dragons last March, but has not played for them yet because of a foot injury sustained during training.

The other scrumhalves in the Kings’ 25-man touring squad are Stefan Ungerer and Rudi van Rooyen.

When the Kings were pipped 22-19 by Benetton Treviso in their last game of 2018, Masixole Banda moved from fullback to flyhalf in the place of Du Toit, who suffered a knee injury against Connacht.

The Kings, who resumed training on December 27, flew to Scotland on Wednesday and will have only a captain’s run in Edinburgh on Friday in preparation for the match.

They have only a solitary win behind their name after 10 outings this season.

“We are happy to be back in action after a good year-end break which came at a good time for the team to recuperate and return rejuvenated,” head coach Deon Davids said.

“One of the positives from the break is that we have had the opportunity to get some of our players back from injury.

“We are really pleased to have the experienced Sarel Pretorius, who was unfortunate to sustain a foot injury ahead of the start of the season, and Mikey Willemse, whom we lost quite early on in the season to a shoulder injury.

“We also have Berton Klaasen back after he missed our last match in 2018 due to a leg injury, while Alandre van Rooyen has recovered from a concussion.”

The Kings have also been bolstered by the inclusion of former Springbok prop Robbi Kempson as the side’s forwards consultant until the end of the season.

Kempson will also be travelling with the team as they hope to continue improving in the set pieces for the remainder of the season.

The former Bok prop played overseas during his career and his input will prove invaluable in testing European conditions.