Former Blitzbok Vuyo Zangqa will take charge of the Southern Kings as head coach when they face the Stormers in Knysna on Friday night.
Lock JC Astle will lead a fairly strong Kings side in the friendly against the Vodacom Super Rugby outfit, but director of rugby Robbi Kempson is using the outing as more than just an opportunity to look at his player depth.
Zangqa, who is assisting the Port Elizabeth-based side during their current PRO14 campaign will be stationed in the coach’s box, while Kempson will be patrolling the touchline delivering messages from Zangqa to the players.
‘Vuyo will take the head coach role just for this game and Braam van Straaten will be the coach when we play another friendly against NMU next Friday,’ said Kempson.
‘Vuyo has come on in leaps and bounds, particularly through his interaction with Swys de Bruin, who has been with us as attack consultant. This opportunity gives him a bit of a growth pathway.
‘Braam will be beside him in the box, while I will be taking on the honourable task of running on the side of the field and passing on the messages that come from the coaches.’
Kempson, who has filled in as head coach on an interim basis, will lead the side until the end of the season after being unable to secure a permanent head coach in the pre-season. Once a head coach is appointed for the 2020/2021 PRO14 campaign, Kempson will be freed up to perform his role as the Kings’ director of rugby.
Although just a friendly match, the Kynsna outing will be a good experience for Zangqa in the head coach’s role as the Stormers – far from full strength due to their Super Hero Sunday commitments – will be fielding a solid team that includes three Springboks in the form of World Cup-winning front-row forwards Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe as well as veteran lock Hilton Lobberts.
‘The Stormers have picked quite a strong side with a few Boks and that will be good for us,’ said Kempson. ‘We will be looking to give some guys who have been out for a bit prolonged game time.’
Some positive news for the Kings is the return of Masixole Banda’s X-factor at fullback.
‘It is good to have Masixole back in the team and we will be using this as an opportunity to get him back up to speed,’ said Kempson.
Kick-off for the friendly at Loerie Park in Knysna is at 7:00pm.
Southern Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Christopher Hollis, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Bader Pretorius, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Lusanda Badiyana, 7 Bobby de Wee, 6 Luyolo Dapula, 5 JC Astle (c), 4 Gideon van Niekerk, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Xandre Vos.
Subs: 16 Robin Stevens, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Ig Prinsloo, 19 Aston Fortuin, 20 Jerry Sexton, 21 Riaan Olivier, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Courtney Winnaar, 24 JT Jackson, 25 Edmund Ludik, 26 Andell Loubser.
Stormers – 15 David Kriel, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Michal Hazner, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Johan du Toit, 7 De Wet Marais, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Frans Malherbe (c), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 DJ Putter, 19 Ruan Laubser, 20 Hannes Gous, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Sihle Njezula, 24 Lyle Hendricks.