EP Kings beef up for W.Province in Currie Cup

Eastern Province Kings coach Carlos Spencer made four changes to his team, in a bid to introduce greater physicality in defence for the Currie Cup match against Western Province in Cape Town on Friday.

Spencer said he was looking for improvements after the team made 250 tackles against the Lions last weekend.

“We have been giving up the ball far too easily and we have not been able to put the opposing defences under any pressure,” Spencer said.

“We were also exposed in the A and B channels by the Lions last week and it’s something we need to change because you can’t keep making 250 tackles a match and expect nothing to give way.”

Dwayne Jenner has replaced Shane Gates at inside centre, while Shaun McDonald gets a chance at flank in place of Thembelani Bholi.

In other changes, prop Lizo Gqoboka returns to the front row and centre Tim Whitehead is back after suffering a knee injury.

Gqoboka replaces BG Uys, with former Springbok prop CJ van der Linde being named on the bench.

Whitehead would pair up with Jenner, while Ronnie Cooke was moved back to the wing.

Gates and Siyanda Grey, who started in the backline against the Lions last week, are set to start on the bench.

“Shane has a slight niggle so we thought it right to give him a bit of rest, and it’s good for Dwayne to get an opportunity.

“He has been training and working hard, and hopefully he will bring some physicality to the defence.”

Regarding McDonald’s promotion, Spencer said it was again a case of using a player who could add a robust element to their game.

“Shaun is a strong ball carrier and deserves an opportunity. Bholi’s had a lot of work in recent weeks so deserves a bit of a rest, but we will definitely use him off the bench.”

Flyhalf Gary van Aswegen was close to full recovery after a groin injury, but was given another week’s rest.

“With George Whitehead having played flyhalf last week, it also helps to keep some stability considering the other changes we made to the backline.”

EP Kings team:

Lizo Gqoboka, Edgar Marutlulle, Tom Botha, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes (captain), Shaun McDonald, Paul Schoeman, Aidon Davis, Kevin Luiters, George Whitehead, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Dwayne Jenner, Tim Whitehead, Ronnie Cooke, Scott van Breda.

Replacements: Mike van Vuuren, CJ van der Linde, Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Willemse, Tobie Botes, Shane Gates, Siyanda Grey.

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