EP Kings coach Mzwandile Stick has made several changes to the team to play Western Province in a key Vodacom Cup fixture in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, April 11, kicking off at 19.00.
Due to a few injuries and Stick’s rotation plan, this match will see the return of props Lizo Gqoboka and Tom Botha to the starting line-up, with Simon Kerrod injured and Charles Marais taking a spot on the bench.
In the backline, Jaco Grobler gets a chance to start in scrumhalf, in place of Kevin Luiters, who has been named among the reserves, while George Whitehead will begin the game at flyhalf following a concussion to Gary van Aswegen.
Although Van Aswegen has been cleared by the medical staff, Stick said he wanted to give the pivot a further week’s recovery period before considering him. “I am just a little concerned about bringing him back at this stage after the concussion against Border (on March 28).”
The flyhalf position is proving a headache for Stick, with Tony Jantjies still recovering from an injury, and he has earmarked skipper and inside centre Shane Gates as the back-up for Saturday should anything happen to Whitehead.
At fullback, Sylvian Mahuza returns after missing the Border game for personal reasons, with Scott van Breda sure to play a role from the bench during the game.
After a loss and a win, Stick acknowledged that the fixture against Western Province was shaping up as a key match of the Kings.
“This is a big one for us because Western Province are a good team and the first two matches have not gone that smoothly for us,” Stick said.
The EP Kings team is: Lizo Gqoboka, Martin Ferreira, Tom Botha, Tazz Fuzani, Cameron Lindsay, Paul Schoeman, Thembelani Bholi, Tim Agaba (vice-captain), Jaco Grobler, George Whitehead, Siyanda Grey, Shane Gates (captain), Hansie Graaff, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Sylvian Mahuza
Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Charles Marais, David Bulbring, Stefan Willemse, Kevin Luiters, Tim Whitehead, Scott van Breda