Port Elizabeth – Southern Kings hooker Kerron van Vuuren will be the latest player to make his PRO14 debut when they take on Italian side Benetton in a Round 10 clash at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium on Saturday.
Head coach Deon Davids has made a number of changes to the side that suffered a 31-14 defeat to Irish side Connacht last Sunday.
The team will see a total of seven personnel changes to the starting line-up, with an additional three positional switches.
After last week’s starting hooker Alandre van Rooyen sustained concussion in the match against Connacht, Van Vuuren – who is on loan from the Sharks – will get his first cap for the Southern Kings with a starting berth on Saturday.
Prop Pieter Scholtz will also be making a much-anticipated return from a shoulder injured he sustained last season with a start in the No 3 jersey, while Nicolaas “NJ” Oosthuizen switches from tighthead prop to loosehead this week.
Martinus “Tienie” Burger will also make a return to the starting XV as he replaces Jurie van Vuuren in a rotational switch.
Four changes in the backline will see the return of Michael Botha at fullback, while Bjorn Basson gets a start at left wing where he replaces Michael Makase. Yaw Penxe moves from left wing to the right side.
Masixole Banda, who has played previous matches for the Southern Kings at fullback, moves to flyhalf in the place of Martin du Toit who sustained a knee injury against Connacht.
The Southern Kings will start with the new center pairing of Tertius Kruger at inside center and Meli Rokoua on the outside. The recent Kings recruits will be getting their first start of the season alongside each other.
The change comes about after Berton Klaasen sustained a leg injury which has kept him out of contention this week, with Harlon Klaasen placed on the bench.
Ulrich Beyers will provide utility cover for the backline from the bench, making his first appearance since Round 2.
“We have a few injuries which will mean changes,” Davids said.
“Centre Berton Klaasen has a leg injury. This will enable us to see what Fijian Meli Rokoua can do from the start, and Tertius Kruger has also been good.
“With Martin du Toit suffering from a knee injury, Ntabeni Dukisa would have been the logical choice at No 10. But he has a minor shoulder injury, so Masixole Banda will shift in at No 10.
“A guy like Michael Botha will now get a chance. We will also get Ulrich Beyers in the mix from the bench.”
Saturday’s match will kick-off at 19:15.
15 Michael Botha, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Masixole Banda 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle (captain), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Nicolaas Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Luvuyo Pupuma, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Andries van Schalkwyk, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Harlon Klaasen