Super Rugby: Southern Kings host the Golden Lions in the first leg play-off

Last updated: 27th July 2013  

 Franco van der Merwe - Sharks v Bulls

Franco van der Merwe: Has returned to boost the Lions

Darron Nell Kings 2012

Darron Nell: Skippers the Kings for the crucial clash

Related links

News

Preview

Report

Also see

The Southern Kings host the Lions on Friday in the massive first leg of the South African Super Rugby play-off.

Being shown live on Sky Sports 4HD from 6pm, the stakes could not be higher for the franchises in the game, the first of two clashes over the next two weekends to decide who will be the fifth South African team in next year's competition.

The Kings replaced the Lions in Super Rugby this year, finishing bottom of the table in their debut season but recording three wins and drawing great support, with crowds packing out the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth - the venue for Friday's first leg.

The Lions - who formerly played Super 12 as Transvaal and Super 14 as the Cats - had seven years to stake their claim in Super Rugby and are desperate to get back into the elite competition.

Cast into the wilderness of the Vodacom Cup, the Lions did all that could be expected of them last term by winning the competition after beating the Pumas in the final, while they also beat Russia, Mont de Marsan and Samoa in the 'Lions Challenge'.

But they have also have a host of fixtures cancelled, hurting their preparation for the match against the Kings.

Injuries

In team news, the Kings go into the clash without first-choice leaders Luke Watson and Andries Strauss, who are both out with injuries. The hosts will also be without flyer Sergeal Petersen, whose explosive nature will be missed.

Aside from these three absentees, the side bears only one change to the one which beat the Western Force in the opening game of the season, with Friday's skipper Darron Nell replacing Steven Sykes.

The Lions have been boosted by the return of lock Franco van der Merwe, hooker Martin Bezuidenhout and fly-half Elton Jantjies for the encounter, with the trio back in the squad after Super Rugby loan spells with other franchises.

Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Charl du Plessis, 17 Hannes Franklin, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Waylon Murray.

Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Chrysander Botha.

What they said...

Southern Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons

"This match is critical to both franchises. The consequences of these matches are extremely serious."

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackerman

"They (the Kings) want to keep playing in the competition and they've had a taste for it. We want to get back in it. We know how good it is. Both camps have tremendous pressure on them."

SkyBet
Click here for more betting
Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 2nd January
Aviva Premiership
19:45Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons
Saturday 3rd January
14:00Saracens vs London Irish
16:30Exeter vs Gloucester
Sunday 4th January
14:00Wasps vs Sale
14:00Leicester Tigers vs Bath
14:30London Welsh vs Harlequins
Friday 9th January
19:45Gloucester vs Saracens
Saturday 10th January
14:00Sale vs Northampton
15:00Bath vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers
Sunday 11th January
14:00Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Exeter
Saturday 14th February
15:00Leicester vs Gloucester
15:00Exeter vs Newcastle
15:00Northampton vs London Irish
Sunday 15th February
14:00Wasps vs Harlequins
14:30London Welsh vs Sale
15:00Saracens vs Bath
Friday 20th February
20:00Newcastle vs Wasps
Saturday 21st February
14:00Sale vs Saracens
15:00Harlequins vs Exeter
15:00London Irish vs Leicester
15:00Bath vs Northampton
15:00Gloucester vs London Welsh
Saturday 28th February
14:30London Welsh vs London Irish

Experts & Blogs

Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com