Kings named to face Hurricanes

Getty Images and James Mortimer     29 Mar 2013     Getty Images

The Kings have been bolstered with the return of two of their most experienced players in lock Steven Sykes and centre Andries Strauss, who has also taken over the captaincy from Schalk Ferreira.

This week, Strauss has cautioned that the Kings will have to watch Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith closely.

Smith, who has been bracketed with Alapati Leiua, is the Hurricanes’ general in a very dangerous backline, which also features the speedy Andre Taylor at fullback and try-scoring winger Julian Savea, who is yet to fire in 2013 after finishing second on the list of top try scorers last season, with nine (behind the Bulls’ Bjorn Basson and Taylor with 10 each).

Matt Sexton, the Kings’ head coach, said the team had settled in and preparations were going well in Wellington.

“We’ve done some previews and have been looking at the footage of the Hurricanes, so we can prepare ourselves for a great performance on Saturday,” Sexton said.

“If we give the Hurricanes the same time, space and momentum as we did last weekend against the Crusaders, it will be another long day. So we’ve been working pretty hard on making sure that doesn’t happen, as well as making sure that we hold onto the ball through phases.”

Southern Kings: George Whitehead, Sergeal Petersen, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss (captain), Marcello Sampson, Demetri Catrakillis, Shaun Venter; Jacques Engelbrecht, Wimpie van der Walt, Devin Oosthuizen, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Hannes Franklin, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo, Waylon Murray, Hadleigh Parkes.