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Luke Watson

Luke Watson

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.

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Sergeal Petersen

Sergeal Petersen

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.

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Carlos Spencer

Carlos Spencer

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.

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Tazz Fuzani

Tazz Fuzani

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.

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Gary van Aswegen

Gary van Aswegen

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.

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Luke Watson

Luke Watson

EP KingsAfter 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.

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Izak van der Westhuizen when he first arrived in Edinburgh

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.

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Luke Watson

Luke Watson

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.

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Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate

WalesDan 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.

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Darron Nell

Darron Nell

EP KingsDarron 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.

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Tobias Botes

Tobias Botes

Steve Cummins

Steve Cummins

Tom Botha

Tom Botha

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.

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CJ van der Linde

CJ van der Linde

Edgar Marutlulle

EDgar Marutlulle

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.

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Michael KillianAfter 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.

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Brian MujatiElton JantjiesEP KingsThe 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).

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EP KingsSiviwe “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.

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Carlos SpencerEP KingsFormer 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.

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StormersThe 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.

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