Luke Watson will make his return to the playing field after injury has kept him on the side line for the better part of the last two seasons.
Watson has been included in Carlos Spencer’s starting lineup which will face the Bulls XV at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
Watson said he was looking forward to being back after a long injury stint, wherein he had six screws and a metal plate placed in his foot following a previously misdiagnosed fracture.
“It has been a long process and a bit of a frustrating one. I am very excited. It is still going to be a process building to Currie Cup as the foot adjusts to the work load.”
Spencer has made a few changes to his side that lost 32 – 12 to Wales last week.
“I think it is important that we give everyone game time in the first two or three games, there are a lot of changes but it is important that we get a look at everyone.
“It’s all about building confidence as a team, although we have got a lot of changes its no excuse in terms of where we want to head. We were reasonably happy with the performance against Wales but we still have a lot of work to do.
“We have to keep things simple for now. The disappointing things that came out of the Wales game includes the amount of individual missed tackles, our ball retention and a little bit around our cleanout as well. We’ve worked a bit on this during the week to make sure we get those right on Friday night,” said Spencer.
Changes amongst the forwards includes Simon Kerrod replacing Charl du Plessis, who is recovering from a neck strain he picked up against the Wales game. BG Uys replaces Lizo Gqoboka at loosehead prop, while Steven Cummins replaces Darron Nell at lock.
Paul Schoeman will be moving to the flank to make way for the returning Watson at the back of the scrum. Watson will also captain the side.
Amongst the backs, Jaco Grobler replaces Kevin Luiters at scrumhalf. Ntabeni Dukisa coming in at wing in place of Scott van Breda who moves to fullback in place of Hansie Graaff who shifts to the bench.
Tim Whitehead will also be making his first appearance for the Kings at outside centre in the place of Ronnie Cooke, with Dwayne Jenner playing inside replacing Shane Gates, who moves to the bench.
Spencer said he expected the game to be a challenge for the players as there was a lot of competition around securing spots in the upcoming Currie Cup.
“I have told every player that no place is certain and everyone has an opportunity and a chance to make the starting fifteen come Currie Cup, they all know that and a few have the opportunity this week.
“The Bulls are the Bulls regardless of which team they bring here. Some of the youngsters they’re bringing will also be looking at securing a spot come Currie Cup,” he said.
Watson added, “It’s an exciting time, we have a lot of youngsters coming in and with Carlos, who is one of the most exciting rugby players the world has ever seen, and with him heading it up it’s an exciting time to be involved in the Kings,”
“One of our biggest strengths is that there is an unknown element, there is a bit of mystery surrounding what we’re going to bring and the sort of rugby we’re going to play,” he said.
Kick off will be at 7pm.
1 BG Uys 2 Edgar Marutlulle 3 Simon Kerrod 4 Steven Cummins 5 Cameron Lindsay 6 Themelani Bholi 7 Paul Schoeman 8 Luke Watson (c) 9 Jaco Grobler 10 George Whitehead 11 Ntabeni Dukisa 12 Dwayne Jenner 13 Tim Whitehead 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi 15 Scott van Breda
16 Dane van der Westhuizen 17 Brendon Oliver 18 Tom Botha 19 Darron Nell 20 Devin Oosthuizen 21 Kevin Luiters 22 Shane Gates 23 Hansie GraaffTweet