The DHL Stormers will not underestimate the Southern Kings when they host the newest South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchise at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
Although the DHL Stormers, SA Conference champions in 2011 and 2012, have not been at their very best this season, they realise the Kings can cause serious damage to an already disrupted campaign this weekend.
The Kings are currently in 13th position on the log. They did not have the best outing against the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend and are still aiming for their first-ever win in a local derby.
To make matters worse for the Kings, they will be without their regular captain and most experienced player, Luke Watson, on Saturday. A bout of flu has ruled him out of the match against the DHL Stormers, a team he represented 62 times in total.
For Demetri Catrakilis it will be a return to DHL Newlands for the first time since he left Cape Town at the end of 2012. Last season turned out to be a massive one for the Kings flyhalf, as he helped DHL Western Province to win the Vodacom and Absa Currie Cups.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee warned his team not to underestimate the visitors to Cape Town this weekend.
“I think the big thing is the way the Kings play with attitude and also a big desire,” said Coetzee, who hails from the Eastern Cape and coached and captained Eastern Province in his playing days.
“No matter who is out and who is in, they remain a dangerous side. They have had a few hiccups, but they have still continuously played well and performed well.
“We are under no illusions that this is going to be a helluva tough game, and we have got to pitch up this weekend. It is going to be physical, and we need to play a smart kicking game and make sure we win that battle, but it starts with the set-piece.”
The teams are:
DHL Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Deon Fourie, Siya Kolisi, De Kock Steenkamp, Eben Etzebeth, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Gebrandt Grobler, Don Armand, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.
Southern Kings: SP Marais, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss (captain), Marcello Sampson, Demetri Catrakilis, Nicolas Vergallo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Wimpie van der Walt, Cornell du Preez, David Bulbring, Darron Nell, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Hannes Franklin, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Devin Oosthuizen, Shaun Venter, Shane Gates, George Whitehead.
DHL Stormers v Southern Kings
Date: Saturday, 1 June
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Linston Manuels (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)