Southern Kings and Leinster make history in PE
The Southern Kings and Irish club Leinster will create a small slice of history on Saturday when they become the first teams to play a PRO14 match in South Africa.
The sides clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth in a round three meeting with the undefeated Irish giants Leinster and the winless Kings in a tournament that is proving to be of a higher quality than most South Africans imagined.
To add some unpredictability to the match‚ there is a forecast for torrential rain and the city’s disaster management has even issued flood warnings.
The foul weather should have passed by the 2.15pm kickoff but it could still leave conditions treacherous.
Leinster will be without fullback Isa Nacewa and scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park‚ who were both denied entry into South Africa on Wednesday for failing to have visas.
The two New Zealanders fell foul of new regulations requiring citizens from that country to have a South African visa.
The pair returned to Dublin on Thursday‚ but have subsequently been issued visas and will board a plane on Sunday to rejoin the team for next week’s clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
As a result Leinster coach Leo Cullen has made several changes to the side to face the Southern Kings.
Fullback Joey Carbery comes in for his first start of the campaign. Left wing Dave Kearney makes first appearance this season.
Prop Ed Byrne will make his first Leinster appearance after three injury-ravaged years with lock James Ryan making his club debut.
Flank Jordi Murphy makes a welcome return after tearing knee ligaments during Ireland’s historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago last year.
Kings coach Deon Davids has kept changes to a minimum.
Scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen replaces Godlen Masimla while prop Luvuyo Pupuma‚ on loan from Western Province‚ comes in to the starting lineup.
Lock Stephen Greeff replaces Jurie van Vuuren in the only other change from last week.
“It’s great to be back on home soil and we are looking forward to the game against Leinster on Saturday‚” Davids said.
“We plan on giving everything we have to entertain the fans and we’re hoping they turn out in large numbers to cheer us on.”
Given the weather forecast that might be an unrealistic hope.
The Cheetahs also play their first home game in the tournament when they meet Italian side Zebre in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
15 Masixole Banda‚ 14 Yaw Penxe‚ 13 Berton Klaasen‚ 12 Luzuko Vulindlu‚ 11 Sibusiso Sithole‚ 10 Kurt Coleman‚ 9 Rudi van Rooyen‚ 8 Andisa Ntsila‚ 7 Victor Sekekete‚ 6 Khaya Majola‚ 5 Dries van Schalkwyk‚ 4 Stephen Greeff‚ 3 Luvuyo Pupuma‚ 2 Michael Willemse (c)‚ 1 Schalk Ferreira
16 Stephan Coetzee‚ 17 Petrus Strauss‚ 18 Martin Dreyer‚ 19 Bobby de Wee‚ 20 Siyabulela Mdaka‚ 21 Godlen Masimla‚ 22 Ntabeni Dukisa/Oliver Zono‚ 23 Jacques Nel
15 Joey Carbery‚ 14 Adam Byrne‚ 13 Rory O’Loughlin‚ 12 Noel Reid‚ 11 Dave Kearney‚ 10 Ross Byrne‚ 9 Luke McGrath‚ 8 Jack Conan‚ 7 Jordi Murphy‚ 6 Rhys Ruddock (c)‚ 5 James Ryan‚ 4 Ross Molony‚ 3 Andrew Porter‚ 2 Seán Cronin‚ 1 Ed Byrne
16 James Tracy‚ 17 Cian Healy‚ 18 Michael Bent‚ 19 Mick Kearney‚ 20 Josh van der Flier‚ 21 Nick McCarthy‚ 22 Cathal Marsh‚ 23 Jordan Larmour
15 Sergeal Petersen‚ 14 Luther Obi‚ 13 Francois Venter‚ 12 William Small-Smith‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Ernst Stapelberg‚ 9 Shaun Venter‚ 8 Junior Pokomela‚ 7 Henco Venter‚ 6 Paul Schoeman‚ 5 Reniel Hugo‚ 4 Justin Basson‚ 3 Tom Botha‚ 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld‚ 1 Ox Nche
16 Jacques du Toit‚ 17 Charles Marais‚ 18 Johan Coetzee‚ 19 Rynier Bernardo‚ 20 Chris Dry‚ 21 Tian Meyer‚ 22 Nico Lee‚ 23 Cecil Afrika
15 Ciaran Gaffney‚ 14 Giulio Bisegni‚ 13 Mattia Bellini‚ 12 Tommaso Castello (c)‚ 11 Gabriele Di Giulio‚ 10 Carlo Canna‚ 9 Marcello Violi‚ 8 Renato Giammarioli‚ 7 Giovanni Licata‚ 6 Johan Meyer‚ 5 George Biagi‚ 4 David Sisi‚ 3 Dario Chistolini‚ 2 Oliviero Fabiani‚ 1 Andrea Lovotti
16 Sami Panico‚ 17 Andrea De Marchi‚ 18 Roberto Tenga‚ 19 Leonard Krumov‚ 20 Derick Minnie‚ 21 Guglielmo Palazzani‚ 22 Serafin Bordoli‚ 23 Faialaga Afamasaga