The Kings will be in danger of suffering their biggest Pro14 defeat when they face Leinster at RDS Arena on Friday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
LEINSTER vs KINGS
For now, at least, the Kings simply do not have the necessary resources to be competitive in this tournament, and in Leinster, they are coming up against one of European rugby’s elite teams.
Statistically, the Kings are the worst team in the competition, but it would be unfair to overlook the extenuating circumstances. There was a mass player exodus after last year’s Super Rugby tournament and they’ve just not been able to recover.
Leinster lead the way in Conference B with 57 log points and are overall the second-best performing side in the tournament behind the Glasgow Warriors (Conference A leaders).
Twelve of Leinster’s first-choice players will be in action for Ireland in the Six Nations this weekend, but even without their Test players, it’s hard to see past the hosts turning in a dominant performance and securing a commanding victory.
After this tour, the Kings return to Port Elizabeth, where they will play their remaining five matches.
Sadly, with each passing round, it’s becoming increasingly likely that they will end the season with a 100% losing record.
Leinster – 15 Dave Kearney, 14 Barry Daly, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Isa Nacewa (c), 11 James Lowe, 10 Ciarán Frawley, 9 Nick McCarthy, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Will Connors, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Ian Nagle, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Ed Byrne.
Subs: 16 James Tracy, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Adam Coyle, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Peadar Timmins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Jordan Larmour.
Kings – 15 Yaw Penxe, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Martin Du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Arthur de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c).
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Luvuyo Pupuma, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Juan-Philip Smith, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Jacques Nel.
OSPREYS vs CHEETAHS
Unfortunately, the match between Ospreys and Cheetahs will not be broadcast because there will be no TV feed from Swansea, as this match clashes with a football game.
The Cheetahs are third in Conference A, with 41 points, while the Ospreys languish in sixth with just 26.
Like the Cheetahs, the Ospreys have great attacking artillery, but it’s in defence where they come unstuck.
If the pattern continues, we’re in for an entertaining, if unstructured, game at the Liberty Stadium.
Ospreys – 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Habberfield (c), 10 Sam Davies, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams 8 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 James King, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Subs: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Alex Jeffries, 20 James Hook, 21 Luke Price, 22 Owen Watkin, 23 Hanno Dirksen.
Cheetahs –15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Francois Venter (c), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Luther Obi.
Munster will be looking to close the points gap when they welcome the Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh travel to the struggling Dragons, Treviso – in the midst of their best-ever season – take on Connacht, the Scarlets play against Ulster at home and the Cardiff Blues travel to Italy where they will face Zebre.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images