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Only this time they didn’t knock a team out in the boardroom. They had to be rescued in the boardroom.
At least the Rebels have home ground advantage, their only advantage over the Sharks.
Coach Deon Davids said he was looking forward to playing the first game of the season at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better draw, to start playing at home,” he said.
Despite the pre-season drama that forced the South African Rugby Union to step in and rescue the Kings from a bankrupt Eastern Province Rugby Union, Davids said they are excited to get going.
“The players have worked really hard and we have tried to tick most of the boxes in preparation for this game and are looking forward to this challenge and being able to play Super Rugby,” the coach said.
“We have huge respect for the Sharks. If you look at the players involved in their warm up matches, they have a good balanced squad, a mixture of experienced players with one or two youngsters coming through.
“They have a good pack of forwards and an exciting back line. The sharks are a team that wants to dominate opposition with go forward ball from set pieces. It will be a challenge for us, and we will have to ensure that we are defensively organised,” he said.
Davids said he was not concerned about the tempo of Super Rugby.
“I am not concerned. We have talked about the intensity and what we can expect. We have tried to simulate that in our training sessions and have trained at a very high intensity.
“It is a case of how well we have done things we could have done up to now,” he said.
In contrasts the Sharks’ build-up could not have been better.
They warmed up with victories over two French giants – European champions Toulon and an equally impressive Toulouse.
Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold said they are excited to get the competition underway.
“Our focus over the last week was to concentrate our energies on working on arrears we believed needed work in, after our pre-season tour to France,” Gold said.
“Playing the Kings this weekend will be a challenging first task.
“We believe that they are a team that have gelled well in the last couple of weeks, through adversity.
“We giving them a lot of respect because they are a very dangerous outfit and we know that throughout this season they’ll want to make their mark.”
Southern Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Louis Albertse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Leighton Eksteen, 22 Louis Fouché, 23 Charles Radebe.
Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 Sibusiso Sithole.