Coach Robbie Kempson has named a young EP Kings squad for the Currie Cup.
Inside centre Jeremy Ward, former skipper of the EP U19 team, has been announced as captain, with lock Sintu Manjezi as his deputy.
Kempson said he enjoys working with the group, as the majority of them were current or ex-Kings Academy players, and that the first round of the Currie Cup provided an opportunity for these youngsters to gain exposure at professional rugby level.
'It is a fairly young team but a very enthusiastic squad that is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Currie Cup and test themselves against the other provincial teams in the competition.
'The Kings Academy was established in 2012 to identify up and coming talent from the region and to provide these players with a career path in professional rugby in their home province, as opposed to losing these players to other franchises. Despite the current challenges being faced by the union, it is imperative we do everything possible to retain these players for the future of rugby in the province,' he added.
Kempson also confirmed that Junior Pokomela, Tyler Paul, Philip du Preez, JP Jonke and Louis Albertse would be available on loan from the Kings Super Rugby franchise.
Kings Currie Cup squad:
Forwards – Brandon Brown, David Murray, Gerrit Huisamen, Greg Jackson, Hayden Tharatt, JP Jamieson, Kevin Kaba, Lusanda Badiyana, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Roche van Zyl, SF Nieuwoudt, Sintu Manjezi (v-c), Tango Balekile, Mzuvukile Sofisa, Warrick Venter, Wynand Grassmann, Stephan Zaayman.
Backs – Athenkosi Mayinje, Davron Cameron, Courtney Winnaar, Garrick Mattheus, Jeremy Ward (c), Jixie Molapo, Keanu Vers, Lindelwe Zungu, Michael Brink, Riaan Esterhuizen, Sibusiso Ngcokovane, Simon Bolze, Somila Jho, Siphumelelo Msutwana, Warren Swarts, Thaki Boloko, Chuma Faas.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images