“We are happy to have guys like Sarel Pretorius and Michael Willemse back from injury. Their return gives us a bit of depth and experience on the bench,” said Deon Davids. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

MURRAYFIELD – Southern Kings coach Deon Davids named his match-day squad of 23 for the side’s opening PRO14 match for 2019 against Scottish side Edinburgh in a Round 13 encounter at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday night.

The forwards will have a front row that will start together for the first time as former Junior Springbok loosehead prop Alulutho Tshakweni gets his first starting berth alongside tighthead Pieter Scholtz and hooker Alandré van Rooyen, who returns to the team after missing out of action in the Southern Kings’ last match of 2018 with a concussion.

In the backline, Masixole Banda returns to fullback after playing at flyhalf against Benetton in the side’s previous match, with Martin du Toit returning to flyhalf.

The centre pairing will see Harlon Klaasen once again partnering with Tertius Kruger. Wing Michael Makase also finds himself back in the starting XV for the Edinburgh clash (9.35pm SA time kickoff).

“The guys have worked hard as we ended 2018 preparing for this opening match of the New Year. We have been fortunate to be able to select a strong side for this match and have maintained some consistency in our selection,” Davids said.

The side has also been boosted with the return of some players from injuries.

Experienced former Emerging Springbok scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius will make his debut for the Kings from the bench on Saturday after nursing a foot injury he sustained before the start of the 2018/19 season.

Also making a return to the side is hooker Michael Willemse, who will provide cover from the bench after recovering from a shoulder injury.

“We are happy to have guys like Sarel Pretorius and Michael Willemse back from injury. Their return gives us a bit of depth and experience on the bench.

“We hope that they will be able to give us the impact we will be looking for later on in the match,” said Davids.

Southern Kings Team

15 Masixole Banda 14 Michael Makase 13 Harlon Klaasen 12 Tertius Kruger 11 Yaw Penxe 10 Martin du Toit 9 Stefan Ungerer 8 Ruaan Lerm 7 Martinus Burger 6 CJ Velleman 5 JC Astle (captain) 4 Stephan Greeff 3 Pieter Scholtz 2 Alandré van Rooyen 1 Alulutho Tshakweni.

Bench: 16 Michael Willemse 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen 18 Luvuyo Pupuma 19 Giant Mtyanda 20 Andries van Schalkwyk 21 Sarel Pretorius 22 Berton Klaasen 23 Ntabeni Dukisa.

African News Agency (ANA)