Rugby

Western Force vs Southern Kings Preview

Western Force vs Southern Kings Preview

South Africa’s Southern Kings visit Perth’s NIB stadium to lock horns with the Western Force on Sunday afternoon.

THE TEAMS

Force

The biggest change here is the season ending injury to young halfback Ryan Louwrens. Force coach David Wessels described him as the form Australian half in super rugby this super season. He is a loss no doubt, but look out for backrower/scrumhalf Michael Ruru, unfortunately for us he’s a Kiwi, but an exciting prospect nonetheless.

In other news Ben McCalman is back in the squad, the veteran Wallaby making his way back from injury via the bench.

Michael Ruru screams for more.

Michael Ruru, a beast of a half back.

Kings

The Kings will be without experienced centre Waylon Murray after injuring his thirty year old self in training. He is one of the King’s best defenders, in the top ten for total tackles this season with fifty four made and only eight missed.

Deon Davids - Southern Kings coach has only made one change from last week.

Deon Davids – Southern Kings coach has only made one change from last week.

WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?

All season the biggest story of super rugby has been the potential trimming of teams. A big win here and the Force will not only put their season back on track, but also give a clear message about where the weakness in the league resides.

The Kings will likewise be out to show that they aren’t an “also ran”, primed for relegation. The Kings have been here before, after a middling 2013 season they were cut adrift until last year and will be more than keen to avoid that pain again.

Dale Haylett-Petty is always one to keep an eye on.

Force fullback Dale Haylett-Petty is always one to keep an eye on.

The Force will be vying for their second home win in a row. If successful it will be the first time since 2014 they have achieved that feat. To put that into perspective, they didn’t win at home at all last season and this is a very winnable game. To cloud that optimism just a touch, the Force are on a seven match losing streak against South African opponents.

On the other hand the Kings have won the only time they’ve played the Force, although that was in 2013 and this is the first time the Kings have played any team from Australia since their 2016 rebirth.

Just on the tourists form, they haven’t managed to beat any team other than the Sunwolves and the Jaguares in their current incarnation. Although to be fair both teams finished on equal wins last season, just above the Sunwolves, with the Force superior in bonus points and points difference.

GAME PLANS

As always the Force are expected to keep it tight and why wouldn’t they? They have a potential advantage at the set piece and defensively.

The Kings lead the league in turnovers won but I can’t be sure if that’s based on the lengths of time they spend on defence, tactics or the referee taking pity on them. Either way I expect a looser approach from the tourists.

Polota-Nau will be key at the set piece.

Force hooker Polota-Nau will be key at the set piece.

PREDICTION

The only thing stopping the Force from getting the chocolates here will be taking their opponents lightly and I can’t see that happening. They’ll be hungry, they’re at home and they’re the better side.

Force by 22.

Western Force

1. Ben Daley
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
3. Tetera Faulkner
4. Matt Philip
5. Richie Arnold
6. Ross Haylett-Petty
7. Matt Hodgson (c)
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Michael Ruru
10. Jono Lance
11. Alex Newsome
12. Billy Meakes
13. Marcel Brache
14. Chance Peni
15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements
16. Heath Tessman
17. Pek Cowan
18. Shambeckler Vui
19. Richard Hardwick
20. Ben McCalman
21. Ian Prior
22. Luke Burton
23. Curtis Rona

Southern Kings

1. Schalk van der Merwe
2. Michael Willemse
3. Ross Geldenhuys
4. Irne Herbst
5. Wilhelm van der Sluys
6. Chris Cloete
7. Andisa Ntsila
8. Ruaan Lerm (v/c)
9. Louis Schreuder
10. Lionel Cronje (c)
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Luzuko Vulindlu
13. Berton Klaasen
14. Yaw Penxe
15. Malcolm Jaer

Replacements
16. Martin Bezuidenhout
17. Chris Heiberg
18. Justin Forwood
19. Mzwanele Zito
20. Tyler Paul
21. Rick Schroeder
22. Pieter-Steyn de Wet
23. Masixole Banda/Wandile Mjekevu

Match Details

Date: Sunday, 9 April 2017
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth, Western Australia.
Kick-off: 16.05 local, 18:05 AEST
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (SA)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (SA), Graham Cooper (AUS)
TMO: George Ayoub (AUS)

Stats courtesy of Opta Sports

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