Kings squad taking shape

Sharks hooker Monde Hadebe is one of several players who have joined the Southern Kings on trial ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Besides Hadebe, centre Lukhanyo Am has also joined from the Sharks, while loose forwards Billy Dutton and Onke Dubase, hooker Mihlali Mpafi, winger Michael Makase and scrumhalf Ntando Kebe are on trial from Border.

South Western Districts players included are utility backs Leighton Eksteen and Luzuko Vulindlu.

Southern Kings COO Charl Crous said these players had joined the franchise on a trial basis, and that a final squad would only be announced towards the end of January.

'We are still in the process of negotiating with other players and with the other unions, but we have made significant progress over the December break and things are looking positive, with more player announcements expected over the coming weeks.'

Crous also confirmed that tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse, who recently returned to South Africa after a spell with French Top 14 side Montpellier, had been signed on a full-time contract along with lock Schalk Oelofse, who was on loan from SWD for the season.

Kings head coach Deon Davids said there was a sense of quiet optimism among the players at the team's first orientation meeting on Monday. 

Davids also explained that the first week would focus on testing players and team building, with a number of workshops also planned. More rugby-orientated training will begin from next week.

The Southern Kings are set to kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks on 27 February.

Kings squad (provisional): Jacobie Adriaanse, Schalk Oelofse, Malcolm Jaer, Siyanda Grey, JP du Plessis, Stefan Watermeyer, Elgar Watts, Louis Fouché, Shane Gates, James Hall, Kevin Luiters, Aidon Davis, Sipato Junior Pokomela, Cyril-John Velleman, Stefan Willemse, Thembelani Bholi, Cornell Hess, Steven Sykes, Tyler Paul, Schalk Ferreira, Tom Botha, Edgar Marutlulle.

On trial: ​Billy Dutton, Onke Dubase, Mihlali Mpafi, Michael Makase, Ntando Kebe, Leighton Eksteen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Monde Hadebe, Lukhanyo Am.

Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis