EP Kings head coach Carlos Spencer has announced a much changed team to take on the Free State Cheetahs in their final warm up game in Cradock on Friday.
Spencer said Luke Watson will once again captain the side, having returned after sitting out the game against the SWD Eagles in George due to a rib injury.
In comparison to the SWD Eagles game, Spencer has named eight new players in the starting line up and four more have received a starting position after being called up from the bench.
Lizo Gqoboka is the only player to retain his spot in the team at loosehead prop. He is accompanied up front by Michael van Vuuren, who returns to hooker in place of Edgar Marutlulle and Tom Botha at tighthead in place of Charl du Plessis. Both Marutlulle and Du Plessis move to the bench.
The Eastern Province Kings have signed Henning van der Merwe as their new kicking coach.
EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, confirmed that Van der Merwe, 28, had been signed until the end of the 2017 season.
With just four weeks left before the Currie Cup starts, Carlos Spencer has announced an expanded team of 26 players to tackle the SWD Eagles in George on Friday evening.
Spencer, who has yet to decide on the captaincy of the squad following Luke Watson’s absence due to a slight rib injury, has made eight changes to his starting line-up in comparison to the game against the Sharks XV last week.
Up front Edgar Marutlulle will start at hooker in place of Albé de Swardt, who moves to the bench. Lizo Gqoboka and Charl du Plessis stay on at loosehead and tighthead respectively.
David Bullbring and Steven Cummins swap places, but stay in the starting line-up. Paul Schoeman comes in at No 6 in place of Thembelani Bholi, and will be accompanied at flank by Stefan Willemse in place of Devin Oosthuizen.
Aidon Davis will start at No 8, in place of Watson, who left the field after 20 minutes against the Sharks XV at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last week with a rib injury.
The Eastern Province Kings say there is no loan agreement for wing Sergeal Petersen to represent the Cheetahs in Super Rugby next year.
It was reported on Monday that the Baby Bok flyer has signed a deal to play Super Rugby with the Cheetahs before returning to play Currie Cup for the Kings.
However, EP Rugby CEO Charl Crous denied this move via a media statement on Tuesday.
Southern Kings coach Carlos Spencer has rung the changes for the Super Rugby friendly against a Sharks XV in Port Elizabeth on Friday as he continues to assess his options ahead of the Currie Cup competition.
The Kings had a convincing 66-28 win over a young Bulls side in their last encounter and Spencer made nine changes to the starting line-up for the clash.
Reflecting on the team, Spencer said the Kings squad was well-covered in all positions, but some players still had to cement their positions.
The Eastern Province Kings are reportedly interested in luring Western Province lock Tazz Fuzani to Port Elizabeth.
Fuzani, 23, made a promising debut for WP in last year’s Currie Cup, but appears to have fallen out of favour with WP / Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
Western Province flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is set to join the Eastern Province Kings for a trial period.
Van Aswegen joined up with the Port Elizabeth-based team on Tuesday.
The trial period will be for one month, but if all goes well, the 24-year-old could represent the EP Kings in this year’s Currie Cup.
After a lengthy layoff through a foot injury, Luke Watson is excited to be back in the EP Kings team to face the Bulls in a Super Rugby friendly at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The 30-year-old loose forward was named by coach Carlos Spencer as captain of the team and would lead the side from the back of the scrum.
Watson has been out of rugby since the Super Rugby competition last year, having been hampered by a broken foot bone.
Lock Izak van der Westhuizen has not passed his medical fitness tests and as such will not be joining the EP Kings for their Currie Cup campaign.
The second row forward started his professional career with the Cheetahs and moved to Edinburgh in 2012 before joining up with the Kings this year.
EP Rugby CEO Charl Crous said the three year contract with the 28-year-old lock out of Kimberley, was subject to his passing his medical fitness tests, and as such the contract would not be coming into effect, effectively releasing Van der Westhuizen.
Luke Watson is eyeing a return to rugby when the Kings tackle the Bulls in a friendly in Port Elizabeth next Saturday.
The 30-year-old loose forward has been beset by injuries in the last year, and hasn’t played any competitive rugby since last year’s Super Rugby competition.
Watson’s injury woes started when he fractured a bone in his ankle towards the latter part of the 2012 season. He returned to play for the Kings in their debut Super Rugby season last year, but was immediately sidelined after taking a blow to the throat in their first game against the Western Force.
Dan Lydiate will captain Wales in their opening game in South Africa against Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The British and Irish Lions flanker has recovered from a hamstring injury to lead a match day squad that includes all four uncapped players who have made the journey to South Africa.
Three of those players are named in Warren Gatland’s starting XV with Matthew Morgan lining up at full-back, Steven Shingler at inside centre and Jordan Williams on the wing.
They are joined in the backline by Cardiff Blues duo Alex Cuthbert and Cory Allen as well as James Hook and Rhodri Williams at half back.
Darron Nell will captain an EP Kings side eager to prove themselves when they meet Wales in an international rugby friendly at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Although Kings coach Carlos Spencer said the match came at an early stage in terms of their Currie Cup preparations, the players were keen to get on to the field after several months of a conditioning and fitness programme.
The Kings, who will play in the Currie Cup premier division this season, starting in August, host Wales in the opening match of their South African tour. Tuesday’s game will be followed by Tests on 14 June and 21 June.
South African-born Italian international Tobias Botes and Australian U20 lock Steve Cummins have joined the EP Kings until the end of the 2014.
Tighthead prop, Tom Botha, has also joined the Eastern Province team as their preparations for re-entry into Currie Cup steps up a gear.
The Eastern Province Kings have confirmed two new player contracts ahead of their re-entry into the Currie Cup Premier Division.
EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous confirmed that the EP Kings have signed prop CJ van der Linde until the end of the 2014 season, as well as signing hooker Edgar Marutlulle until the end of 2015.
Springbok prop CJ van der Linde could feature for the Eastern Province Kings in the Currie Cup Premier Division later this year.
The 33-year-old pitched up at the Kings practice on Tuesday.
After an impressive professional rugby career that has spanned over a decade, the dynamic winger, Michael Killian, will be hanging up his boots to take on new challenges in the corporate sector.
EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, on Monday confirmed Killian’s retirement.
The Eastern Province Kings are chasing the signature of Springbok prop Brian Mujati ahead of the start of the Currie Cup.
The Kings have already been bolstered by the recent signings of lock Izak van der Westhuizen (Edinburgh), hooker Michael van Vuuren (Stade Français), centre Tim Whitehead (Sharks), scrumhalf Kevin Luiters (Cheetahs) and wing Paul Perez (Samoa).
The Eastern Province Kings have confirmed Kevin Luiters as their latest signing ahead of their 2014 Currie Cup Premier Division season.
EP Kings CEO, Charl Crous, confirmed that the 21-year-old Luiters, who played scrumhalf for the Free State Cheetahs, had officially joined the Currie Cup training squad on Monday.
The Eastern Province Kings again dipped into the Sharks Tank’s resources to bolster their Currie Cup squad.
The EP Kings revealed on Monday that they have signed Springbok and former Shark Shaun Sowerby as their new forwards coach.
The EP Kings have confirmed three new signings ahead of their preparations for the Currie Cup Premier Division.
EP Kings CEO, Charl Crous confirmed that Michael van Vuuren, Tim Whitehead and Hansie Graaff will all be joining the Kings over the coming months, along with Izak van der Westhuizen whose signing has already been announced.
The Eastern Province Kings will be going head to head with Wales ahead of their Test matches against the Springboks in June.
Edinburgh rugby player, Izak van der Westhuizen, who also played for the Free State Cheetahs, will be joining the EP Kings in June.
EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous said the 28-year-old lock out of Kimberly, had signed a three year deal with the Kings.
Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi and Scott van Breda will start against the Tusker Simba XV in Cape Town on Saturday in the Eastern Province Kings first Vodacom Cup match of the season.
Vodacom Cup head coach, Mzwandile Stick, said both Soyizwapi and Van Breda, who had been on loan to the Stormers, had returned to the Kings this week, as they had not been selected as part of the Stormers touring squad.
Former All Black Carlos Spencer has been tasked to guide the Eastern Province Kings in their return to the Currie Cup competition.
Spencer, who joined the Kings in December, has been appointed head coach for the Currie Cup season.
The DHL Stormers have been the South African side to be hit with the most pre-season injuries of all 5 Super Rugby Franchises. It has left them lean at lock and in the backline at wing and fullback.
Jaco Taute is rported to be out for 2 more weeks,as a result of which the Stormers have had to scramble to sign more depth, which now comes in the form of signing Shakes Soyizwapi from the EP Kings.
In addition, speculation is rife around what the constitution of the back three will be to run out against the Lions in Super Rugby on the weekend and the likelyhood is that Allister Coetzee would entrust a midfield spot next to Jean de Villiers to Michael van der Spuy.
Springbok Siya Kolisi scored a hat-trick as the Stormers dispatched the Southern Kings in a Super Rugby pre-season outing.
The Stormers eventually won 40 / 7, after racing into a commanding 19 / 0 lead inside the first half-hour, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
A new proposal could see the so-called big five unions and the Eastern Province Kings be assured of their Currie Cup status for at least the next two years.
This is the latest proposal to be voted on at an annual South African Rugby Union (SARU) meeting next Thursday.
The DHL Stormers have announced that Juan de Jongh has injured his knee and will miss 6 weeks of rugby.
In addition, Schalk Burger makes double news, being named the Captain of the side who will take on the Southern Kings on the weekend and with the further news that he wants to stay put in the Cape, at least till after the next World Cup.
A somewhat changed Southern Kings team will take to the field against the DHL Stormers under the leadership of Steven Sykes on Friday evening, says caretaker coach, Robbie Kempson.
Announcing the team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Kempson said Sykes would take the role of captain this week, following an injury to Darron Nell’s elbow that has resulted in him being excluded from selection.
The Southern Kings will have to appoint a new captain for the game on Friday when they take on the DHL Stormers (in a pre-season Super Rugby warm-up game for the Stormers) at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.