Kruger keen to fuel rivalry in Kings clash

Kings center Tertius Kruger pictured during a training session at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
Kings center Tertius Kruger pictured during a training session at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
Image: Werner Hills

If powerful Isuzu Southern Kings centre Tertius Kruger is picked to play against the Cheetahs on Friday, he wants to give fans a show they will not forget in a hurry.

Kruger is relishing the prospect of squaring up against his former Cheetahs teammates in the first South African Guinness PRO14 derby of the season at the Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

“I really enjoy it when people come up to me and say that I played well,” Kruger said.

“I like to entertain people by stepping or by running over someone.”

A no-holds-barred encounter is on the cards when the Kings bid to win only their second game of the season and they will need players like Kruger to deliver a strong showing.

In their last game, the Kings were blanked 38-0 by Edinburgh and they face another tough test against the men from Bloemfontein.

Adding spice to the derby is that several players will be facing former teammates.

“We will see what happens, but it will definitely be a tough game,” Kruger said after an energy-sapping Kings training session on Tuesday.

The two teams have had some close encounters in previous meetings, with the Cheetahs holding the bragging rights from the most recent one after winning 29-20 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last season.

Since then the Kings have acquired two former Cheetahs players, Kruger and Sarel Pretorius, who joined another exCheetahs player, Tienie Burger, in Port Elizabeth.

This rivalry will be fuelled by the presence, in the Cheetahs squad, of former Kings and Eastern Province players Malcolm Jaer, Sintu Manjezi and Junior Pokomela, who will all add some excitement.

Kruger, who is in line for selection after recovering from a hand injury, is keenly anticipating the prospect of squaring up to his former teammates.

“When you come up against old mates it is always difficult because we know one another so well,” he said.

“This is a very important game because the winning team will get a big boost on the log.

“There is no doubt that both teams will come out with all guns firing.”

Kings team doctor Gershwin Kortje has passed fullback Masixole Banda and Kruger fit for Friday’s clash.

“Following assessments and scans last week, I am pleased to confirm that they are fit to play as they have recovered from the knocks they sustained against Edinburgh,” he said.

The Kings were given other injury scares when loose-forwards Martinus “Tienie” Burger (groin) and Ruaan Lerm (leg) sustained knocks during training.

“Ruaan Lerm has recovered and is available for selection this week,” Kortje said.

“We are still keeping a close eye on Burger with his groin injury. We can expect to make a call on his availability later in the week.”

Friday’s clash kicks off at 7pm.