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Sport24.co.za | Mnisi fit to lead Kings in clash against Ospreys



Cape Town – Centre Howard Mnisi will lead the Southern Kings on
Saturday when they take on the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

Kick-off is at 17:00 SA time.

Southern
Kings interim head coach Robbi Kempson named his 23-man match-day squad on
Friday having made a few changes to the team that will see a change in
leadership for the last of three matches of their South African side’s first
European tour of the 2019/20 PRO14 season.

“Howard Mnisi
is our captain,” confirmed Kempson following the return of the centre to the
team after he had recovered from a calf injury sustained earlier on in the
season.

“It is great to
have him back from injury – all the experience he brings and the calmness he
offers. He is one of our firm leaders in the team who has had a heavy
influence.

“Tienie Burger
will then be our vice-captain and will lead our forwards.”

Mnisi will pair
up in midfield with Erich Cronje, who left the field last weekend following a
knock to the neck, but has fully recovered to continue the good vein of form he
has shown in the matches he has played so far.

“From a
selection point of view, we have moved things around subtly,” said Kempson.

“With regards
to our backs, we have brought in Scott van Breda, who will bring a bit of extra
experience at the back in the conditions we are expecting on Saturday – there
is quite a cold front that is expected to come through Wales, so we expect very
tricky conditions throughout the game.

“Josiah
Twum-Boafo comes onto the wing, getting his place with a couple of players
slipping down to the bench in view of the ill-discipline and yellow cards in
the previous game which we just cannot afford.”

In the forwards
pack, Junior Springbok Elrigh Louw, who has shone each time he has come on
from the bench in previous matches for the Southern Kings, will earn his
first starting berth this weekend at No 8, where he replaces last weekend’s
captain, Ruaan Lerm.

Aston Fortuin,
who has been one of the standout forwards this season, will also be managed
after playing almost every minute of the Southern Kings’ matches so far
this season. The talented lock will play from the bench this week, with Jerry
Sexton replacing him in the starting XV.

“Elrigh Louw,
under the same circumstances, gets his opportunity. He has been excellent off
the bench in the games up to now. He will start at No 8 in place of Ruaan Lerm,”
said Kempson.

“As far as the
locks are concerned, purely from a fatigue point of view, Aston Fortuin will be
playing off the bench. He has been our standout lock so far in this season.

“He has a lot
of minutes under the belt, so instead of risking him by playing a full game, we
decided it was in his best interest to bring him off the bench, in view of the
season that we have going forward.”

Experienced
scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, who has a wealth of knowledge of Welsh teams and
conditions, will provide half-back cover from the bench as he will make his
first appearance for the Southern Kings this season after recovering from
a leg injury.

After last
weekend’s emphatic defeat to Glasgow Warriors, Mnisi stressed that the side had
put the unflattering result behind them as they hope to make amends this week
against a “tough” Ospreys side that will also be looking to get onto a winning
track.

“We just want
to put the previous game behind us and focus on the next game, which is against
the Ospreys. They are a team that is historically very dangerous, especially at
home,” said Mnisi.

“They (Ospreys)
have not had the best of results recently, similar to ourselves. So it will be
a major battle on the day.

“Our boys are
pretty excited. We aim to improve each week, just to get better. The guys who
have been picked will hopefully put their hands up and stake their claim to
each position.

“We are
building a very decent side, even though the results don’t quite show it at the
moment, but the guys are really working hard and they are sticking together.
The team culture is getting a lot better – which is one of the most important
things when building success in a side.

“All in all, we
are pretty excited for the game. It will be physical, we expect an aerial game
if you look at the conditions. It will be a battle up front, so we will look to
curb their kicking game and whatever they bring on that front. We want to just
go out there and enjoy ourselves, show the world what we are capable of doing.”

Kempson also
pointed out that the team got together for some introspection following last
weekend’s defeat and are now intent on regaining the confidence of their
faithful supporters back home when they take on Ospreys.

“We had a good
sit down after Glasgow and had a lot of introspection with regards to our
players and the manner in which we played that game,” said Kempson.

“From a team
point of view, we really wish to try inspire everyone back home with the manner
we intend to play the game against the Ospreys. We are looking forward to
putting up a good performance.”

The Southern Kings find themselves bottom of Conference B while the Ospreys are down in sixth in Conference A
after five matches.

Teams:

Ospreys

15 Cai Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Scott
Williams, 11 Lesley Klim, 10 Luke Price, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Morgan
Morris, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Dan Lydiate (captain), 5 Lloyd Ashley, 4 Marvin
Orie, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Otten, 1 Rhodri Jones

Substitutes: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Guido Volpi, 20
Sam Cross, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 James Hook, 23 Tom Williams

Southern Kings

15 Scott van Breda, 14 Christopher Hollis, 13 Howard Mnisi (captain), 12 Erich
Cronje, 11 Josiah Twum-Boafo, 10 JT Jackson, 9 Josh Allderman, 8 Elrigh
Louw, 7 Thembelani Boli, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Jerry
Sexton, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Juan Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Lupumlo Mguca, 19 Aston
Fortuin, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Siya Masuku, 23 S’bura
Sithole




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