The EP Kings will be without regular captain Luke Watson for Saturday’s match against the Golden Lions.
After a week disrupted by issues around delays in player salary payments, the Kings announced their team late on Thursday, with Thembelani Bholi shifting to openside flanker in place of Watson, while Stefan Willemse and Paul Schoeman come into a reshuffled loose trio. Tim Whitehead returns from injury and will assume the captaincy in Watson’s absence.
There are in fact a host of new faces in the Kings team, with Edgar Marutlulle, Simon Kerrod, Tazz Fuzani and Cameron Lindsay coming into a completely revamped tight five.
Dwayne Kelly will start at scrumhalf, while Sylvian Mahuza and Hansie Graaff are the other newcomers in the backline.
The raft of changes remain rather suspicious in a week of discontent, especially considering there were no serious injuries listed in the Kings' medical report after last weekend's match against the Sharks.
EP Kings – 15 Hansie Graaff, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Sylvian Mahuza, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Basil Short, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 JP du Plessis.
Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images