CAPE TOWN – He is arguably one of the finest scrumhalf talents in the country, but injury – and specifically concussion – hasn’t been a friend of Godlen Masimla.
The Stormers and Western Province halfback has long been touted to become a Springbok one day.
His speed across the ground and ability to snipe around the fringes of rucks has marked him as one to watch, and he should’ve been at least the starting Stormers No 9 by now.
However, things don’t always work out as it should in professional sport – especially South African rugby.
Masimla has been a victim of some baffling selection decisions by coaches over the years, but in addition, he has picked up a number of concussions that have sidelined him for periods at a time.
Now, though, he has been given an opportunity to make a fresh start.
The 25-year-old was included in the Southern Kings squad for the PRO14 competition on Monday, and is one of two scrumhalves with senior provincial experience, along with Rudi “Poerie” van Rooyen in the large group of 40 players.
Former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks has been withdrawn after being named in the initial Kings group last week, reportedly due to having failed another test with regards to his heart ailment that has kept him out of top-level rugby for the last few years.
But apart from Masimla, there are a number of players with Super Rugby experience, such as No 8 Andisa Ntsila, wing Alshaun Bock, centre Luzuko Vulindlu, prop Schalk Ferreira and flank CJ Velleman.
There are a few other WP players who have moved to Port Elizabeth, with Masimla and Kurt Coleman joined by loose forwards Jurie van Vuuren and Eital Bredenkamp.
The Kings announced on Monday that there are additions to Deon Davids’ coaching staff as well, with former Stormers and Border wing Chumani Booi coming on board as the backline coach, with SA Rugby’s Louis Koen a kicking consultant.
Booi will replace Vuyo Zangqa, who has taken up a coaching gig in Germany.
“Chumani Booi is one of the respected coaches in the country, who comes with good experience from having coached the Border Bulldogs and the South Africa ‘A’ side. We looked to bring in somebody who will take Southern Kings rugby forward,” said Davids.
The Southern Kings will fly to Wales next week, where they will start their PRO14 competition against defending champions the Scarlets on September 2.
Meanwhile, Jacques van der Westhuyzen reports from Johannesburg that the Free State Cheetahs have made a few new appointments ahead of their entry into the PRO14 competition and to manage the overlap with the Currie Cup.
England-raised Dave Williams has been appointed as the new backline and attack coach in view of PRO14 tour, as well as the Currie Cup moving forward.
Williams was previously assistant coach for the Kobe Steelers in Japan, while he also coached London Irish and Bath in England. He was also the backline and coach co-ordinator for the Southern Kings.
For the overlap with the Currie Cup, the coaching staff involved in the PRO14 will be Rory Duncan (head coach), Corniel van Zyl (forwards coach), Dave Williams (backs coach) and Charl Strydom (defence).
Dr Rudi de Wet and JP du Toit will form part of this team, as the medical doctor and physiotherapist, respectively, while the fitness co-ordinator and biokineticist is Quintin Kruger.
Taking charge of the Currie Cup side will be Daan Human, with MJ Smith and Albert Keuris.
Director of Rugby Franco Smith – when he’s not involved with the Springboks – will apart from all his other responsibilities, also assist both teams with skills, structures and strategy.
The Cheetahs’ opening PRO14 game is against Ulster next Friday, followed by a clash with Munster, both in Ireland.
Southern Kings Squad
Alandré van Rooyen, Alshaun Bock, Andisa Ntsila, Berton Klaasen, Bobby de Wee, CJ Velleman, Dries van Schalkwyk, Eital Bredenkamp, Freddy Ngoza, Godlen Masimla, Jacques Nel, Jarryd Sage, Jurie van Vuuren, Justin Forwood, Khaya Majola, Kurt Coleman, Lindokuhle Welemu, Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda, Lusanda Badiyana, Luzuko Vulindlu, Martin Dreyer, Masixole Banda, Michael Makase, Njabulo Gumede, Ntabeni Dukisa, Oliver Zono, Pieter Scholtz, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Rossouw de Klerk, Ruaan Lerm, Rudi ‘Poerie van Rooyen, Sbura Sithole, Schalk Ferreira, Siyabulela Mdaka, Stephan Coetzee, Stephan Greeff, Tango Balekile, Tienie Burger, Victor Sekekete, Yaw Penxe.