In what can only be described as an admission of an error made, Kings captain Luke Watson has been relegated to the bench for their game against the Cheetahs.
Watson looked decidedly out of shape against the Bulls, and as predicted by the Grunt, seemed to disrupt, rather than enhance the Kings momentum when brought straight back into the starting lineup last weekend after a long injury layoff.
“After a bad ankle injury last season, Luke worked extremely hard to get his fitness up to speed,” said Kings coach Alan Solomons.
“Then he suffered the throat injury against Western Force and that made fitness training impossible for a while. He again trained hard and came through the Cup match against SWD unscathed and we decided to use him for 40 to 50 minutes in his first game back.”
“With the Cheetahs match up-country, there is the altitude factor and in discussions with the conditioning and medical staff, it was decided it would be more appropriate for him to come off the bench against a team who play at pace and with a high tempo.”
Which is basically coach speak for “The man is unfit, we made an error, and he will not be able to live with the Cheetahs pace in Bloem” …
Watson was replaced by one of the finds of the season, Jacques Engelbrecht, who seemed to stem the Bulls flow of point scoring when brought onto the field, but Solomons said Watson would definitely come off the bench against the Cheetahs.
Centre Andries Strauss will lead the team at the Free State Stadium.
Wing Sergeal Petersen remains sidelined with a lingering groin injury, giving Siyanda Grey a chance on the wing, along with Michael Killian, who has recovered from injury.
This means Marcello Sampson sits out and Ronnie Cooke, playing wing for the past few matches, returns to centre in place of Waylon Murray, who drops to the bench.
Up front Rynier Bernardo replaces David Bulbring at lock.
Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Bench: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi