How Far are the Kings from Being Ready for 2013?
September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Now that the Signatures of Cheetahs hard-hitting centre Andries Strauss and Sharks enforcer Steven Sykes have been confirmed. I think we can safely say The Southern Kings are taking a few steps in the right direction.
These are two top profile signings. I mentioned in a previous post that they perhaps need some centre recruitment and it is very refreshing to see management who are able to identify the obvious areas of concern
I had a look at their stocks in a previous post, trying to see what a Kings side would look like, were they to run out today. I started with the forwards, but never got around to writing part two, so no more delaying.
It seems there’s still quite a bit of negativity(from the public) surrounding the Kings as a team, most likely due to the way they have been included into Super rugby, at the expense of the Lions. The latest bit of unwarranted criticism being thrown around by the average SA rugby supporter touches on the fact that The Kings promised to develop ‘their own players’ and ‘build a team’ and the fact that they are now merely ‘poaching from other unions’ , people also seem to have an issue with the fact that these new faces have ‘all’ been white.
Now, I have explained this about a million times, and it is rather obvious why the Kings need to recruit players but I’ll be considerate and explain it once more. The Kings were confirmed as 2013 Super Rugby participants not too long ago, by that time Super Rugby 2013 was just about 6 months away. Now while transformation and player development is high on their priority list, their top priority(short term) is to be competitive at Super Rugby level, trying to avoid the promotion/relegation match that’ll be played at the end of the 2013 season, while also proving the critics wrong. The only way to get a competitive team ready for the 2013 season is to recruit the necessary experience and skills.
So now that we’ve cleared that up – lets take a look at their current squad.
The Kings will join the 2013 Super Rugby season at the expense of the Lions. Their 2013 provisional squad is based on the players representing the Eastern Province Kings in the domestic 2012 Currie Cup First Division competition.
The table above perfectly displays the Kings’ squad and their new signings.
Their Prop stocks are seriously impressive, Veteran Tight head prop Clint Newland probably tops the list for me, He has 35 Super Rugby caps and quite a bit of experience playing in Europe, The giant 1.96m , 132kg man will look to anchor the Kings scrum in 2013. Not being too clued up on all the other prop options, I would most likely start with the mobile Jaco Engels on the loose head side, He used to be a very impressive ball carrier in his Blue Bulls days.
The Hooker position will also be filled with quite a bit of experience, Hannes Franklin has played rugby all over SA. Having accumulated some Super Rugby experience at the Lions
Steven Sykes will take up the # 4 jersey, while there are some interesting options who could partner him, David Bullbring or Joe Snyman(if the latter is still on the Kings’ books) are very good options. both fairly young and relatively experienced. Wayne van Heerden is a player with Super Rugby experience who excites me, Bullsbring is probably the line-out specialist among them and might .
The Loosies will all be determined depending on the combination the coaches opt for, With Luke used predominantly in the number 8 jersey these days, it gives you the option of playing another open side flanker, I have not seen all their options in action, but have seen a bit of Wimpie van der Walt which suggests he’s a live-wire flanker who’s good at disrupting ball, a strong carrier, very quick and a strong defender – here’s a clip on him
On the other side I have gone for Cornell du Preez, another good ball carrier, I do however believe the Kings might benefit from signing a quality experienced blindside flanker.
1. Jaco Engels
2. Hannes Franklin
3. Clint Newland
4. Steven Sykes
5. David Bulbring / Wayne van Heerden
6. Wimpie van der Walt
7. Cornell du Preez
8. Luke Watson (c)
The Kings signed forgotten ex Sharks scrum half, Scott Mathie after he spent some time in Europe, He’s only 29 years old, and might still have some rugby left in him. They have a couple of young options, but might opt for the experience of Oelschig.
The signature of Catrakilis has made him an obvious choice to start as pivot, He has been in great form for WP in the ongoing Currie Cup. Most Province supporters, I have spoken to, saw Catrakilis as the most promising youngster among the current batch of young Fly halves in Cape Town.
Andries Strauss is a very solid defender and actually reminds me of De Wet Barry, who just happens to be the current Kings defence coach.
I have never seen Siyanda Grey play, but his record speaks for itself. having played 3 Nations Cup games and scoring 6 tries and being named player of the tournament. He has been plagued by injury last year and only returned to the field recently.
The Kings have players like Killian and Nokwe who have Super Rugby experience, but they also have promising outside backs like Sampson and Perez who might be preferred in the starting line-up. SP Marais has also been exceptional for the Kings.
9. Falie Oelschig
10. Demetri Catrakilis
11. Marcello Sampson / Jongi Nokwe
12. Andries Strauss
13. Siyanda Grey
14. Paul Perez / Norman Nelson
15. SP Marais
16. Frank Herne
17. Kevin Buys
18. Darron Nell
19. Jacques Engelbrecht / Mpho Mbiyozo
20. Scott Mathie
21. Wesley Dunlop
22. Tiger Mangweni / Michael Killian
I think we can all agree that this team would probably struggle against most opposition in the tournament. I believe they have a pack of forwards however that would be able to hold their own, quite a bit of experience up front and as many pointed out, their inexperienced backline might be the only area of concern. inexperience can easily result in sloppy defense, Strauss in this aspect will be invaluable for them.
One can only speculate just how far this team and their current squad is from being ‘finalised’. It was reported that They are still searching for some “tall locks” earlier in the week. It is a pity the Southern Kings weren’t included in the Premier division of the Currie Cup, as that would’ve given us a good idea of their progress.
Will be very interesting to see who the Kings’ next signing will be.