Changes to Kings backline for clash in Italy

Cape Town - Southern Kings coach Deon Davids has elected to make minimal changes to his team to face Italian outfit Benetton Treviso in the PRO14 this weekend.

The changes come in the backline at centre and wing, while the forward pack - which showed up well in the wet against the Dragons last week - remains intact.

Right wing Yaw Penxe, who has been an ever-present in the team so far this campaign, is given a rest and Sibusiso Sithole - who previously did duty at left wing - comes in for him to partner Alshaun Bock and Masixole Banda as the back three.

A new centre pairing of Jacques Nel and Luzuko Vulindlu does duty with Berton Klaasen dropping to the bench.

Other changes on the bench see fit-again scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen come in for Ruan Gouws, while the replacement hooker berth goes to Tango Balekile in place of Stephan Coetzee.

Speaking after the team announcement, Davids said that in making his selection he was striking a balance between rewarding form and making sure all players on tour were given an opportunity to show their worth.

"The extremely wet conditions we experienced last weekend made things difficult for everyone but once we had adjusted to them I thought the team showed up well - particularly our forwards where Bobby de Wee led the performance stats in terms of tackles made and lineouts stolen. If we can put an 80 minute performance together against Benetton Treviso then I believe we have a good chance of coming out on top," he said.

Davids added that he knew his team were in for a tough match regardless.

"There are no easy games in an international competition like the PRO14 but we are determined to do everything we can to make our fans proud," he said.

This weekend's match in Italy kicks off at 20:00 (SA time) and the Southern Kings will once again be captained by hooker Michael Willemse.

Southern Kings team:
 
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Alshaun Bock
10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Martin Dreyer, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira
 
Substitutes: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Entienne Swanepoel, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Oliver Zono, 23 Berton Klaasen