The Eastern Province Kings face their biggest challenge in many years in Port Elizabeth on Friday night when they host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the second leg of their Absa Currie Cup promotion-relegation series.
The Kings will be attempting the almost impossible at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – erase a 39-point deficit following their 53-14 first-leg defeat at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein last Friday and prevent the visitors from scoring four tries.
With a log-point system in operation for the series, and the Cheetahs having picked up a full haul of five points and the Kings none, it means that for the Kings win promotion to the Premier Division next year they would have to beat the Cheetahs by 40 points or more but also make sure they deny the visitors a try bonus point.
After completion of the promotion-relegation series, the team with the most log points accumulated during these two matches will play in the Premier Division next year.
In the event of an equal number of log points, the winner will be determined as follows:
a) the best nett points difference, i.e. points for minus points against, and if equal;
b) the team who scored the most tries, and if equal;
c) the status quo will remain.
The Kings have been forced to ring the changes, with fullback SP Marais and centre Wayne Stevens out injured. On the plus side, EP have recalled fit-again No 8 Darron Nell and handed the big back-rower the captaincy reins, while rookie Siviwe Soyizwapi starts on the wing.
“We were very upset with the way we played last week and it was without doubt our worst match of the season,” said Nell.
The Cheetahs also have injury concerns going into the match, with Philip Snyman and Davon Raubenheimer replacing Andries Strauss and Lappies Labuschagne respectively, while under-20 prospect Henco Venter is included on the bench.
This weekend’s fixture – Second Leg of Promotion-Relegation series:
Eastern Province Kings vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Date: Friday, 26 October
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistants: Quintin Immelman, Cobus Wessels
Television Match Official: Johann Meuwesen
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Michael Killian 14 Norman Nelson 13 Paul Perez 12 Tiger Mangweni, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Devin Oosthuizen, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Boetie Britz, 5 Rynier Bernado, 4 Darron Nell (c), 3 Andre Schlechter, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Mpho Mbiyozo, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 Wesley Dunlop, 22 Scott van Breda.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Barry Geel, 22 Nico Scheepers.