Southern Kings seek Fijian magic
Meli Rokoua given a berth in Belfast starting line-up
“Do it for the new owners” may be the war cry in the Isuzu Southern Kings camp ahead of their Guinness PRO14 clash against Ulster in Dublin on Saturday. This will be the first time the Kings have played under private ownership, and they will want to make it winning start for the consortium who have a 74% share in the franchise. The Kings have not won an away match in the PRO14, and it is a statistic that gives a good idea of how elusive success on the road has been. Saturday’s game at the Kingspan Stadium will be another tough ask for the Kings who will be facing an Ulster outfit who are third on the Conference B table. This is the final match in Europe for the Kings, who will end their season with home games against the Dragons and Ospreys, before travelling to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs. “We have opted for consistency with the aim of building momentum from what was a close match against Cardiff Blues two weeks ago, Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
“A guy like CJ Velleman, who missed out on the last tour because of a suspension, could have easily come back into the side, but we have somebody like Henry “Bakkies” Brown who performed very well for us on tour, and so did Stephan de Wit, but we could only pick one of them. “Bakkies did well for us, and for consistency’s sake, it was the obvious decision to make to include him in the squad.”
“Our focus now is on the remaining four matches, especially the next match against Ulster,” Davids said.
“We are working hard to ensure that we continue to improve and that we get some positive results.” Meli Rokoua has been given a berth in the starting line-up, and Davids will be wanting the “Fijian Flyer” to provide magic in the backline as his team go for a first win on European soil. Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey will line up for his 103rd cap against the Kings and he believes a victory against the free-scoring South Africans will be the springboard for a successful end of season for the Province. “The Kings are obviously a very talented side who score a lot of tries,” McCloskey said. “They’re obviously good at scoring tries, and our defence will have to be good this week.” “We’ve put ourselves in good positions in both competitions with the quarter final of Europe and third in the league, but we’re looking at the Kings right now and hoping to get four or five points and push on.”
Southern Kings:(Nos 1 to 15): Alulutho Tshakweni, Michael Willemse, De-Jay Terblanche, Andries van Schalkwyk, JC Astle (capt), Bakkies Brown, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm, Stefan Ungerer, Bader Pretorius, Bjorn Basson, Tertius Kruger, Meli Rokoua, Yaw Penxe, Ulrich Beyers. Replacements (Nos 16 to 23): Alandre van Rooyen, Schalk Ferreira, Lupumlo Mguca, Stephan Greeff, Andisa Ntsila, Rudi van Rooyen, Masixole Banda, Harlon Klaasen.
(Nos 15 to 9): Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, Dave Shanahan. (Nos 1 to 8): Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (captain), Ian Nagle, Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, Marcell Coetzee. Replacements (Nos 16 to 23): John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, John Cooney, Michael Lowry, Angus Kernohan.
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland):
The match will be shown live on SS1 at 7.35pm...