Kings ring changes for Sharks
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.
"Everyone is under pressure because nobody is guaranteed their spots at this stage," said Spencer.
"It's another opportunity for the players to put their hands up."
Luke Watson remained as captain and number eight after a lengthy layoff through injury, while experienced centre Tim Whitehead received another outing in the midfield, this time alongside the promising Shane Gates.
Spencer would be particularly interested in the performance of young fly-half Gary van Aswegen, making a start in the pivot position.
"This is an opportunity for Gary to put his hand up because he is on a one-month loan from Western Province. But everyone is under pressure to produce, not only Gary."
Regular Kings backline player Siyanda Grey made a return to big-time rugby after more than a year off through injury.
Spencer said they were keen for the utility back, playing on the wing, to get some game time under his belt.
"I am sure there will be a few butterflies for Siyanda because he has not played for a while, but we just want him to get back into it, to do the basics well and gain confidence with some game time."
Junior Springbok wing Sergeal Petersen was also back after the Junior World Cup in New Zealand and would start on the bench, with Spencer likely to ease him back into provincial rugby during the match.
The Kings squad: Lizo Gqoboka, Albe de Swardt, Charl du Plessis, Steven Cummins, David Bulbring, Thembelani Bholi, Devin Oosthuizen, Luke Watson (capt), Tobie Botes, Gary van Aswegen, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Shane Gates, Tim Whitehead, Siyanda Grey, Scott van Breda.
Replacements: Mike van Vuuren, Brenden Olivier, Tom Botha, Cameron Lindsay, Shaun McDonald, Enrico Akers, George Whitehead, Sergeal Petersen.