Three to watch: Southern Kings

Andy Baber
30 June 2018

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All the players from the Guinness PRO14 are enjoying a well-earned break this summer.

Southern King’s Kurt Coleman

But the new campaign is not far over the horizon and to build the anticipation we are focusing on some new faces at each of the 14 clubs that could light up next season.

Now we turn to the Southern Kings as they enter their second season in the competition, looking to build on a first season  where they will have learned a lot of lessons, with a number of players keen to make a mark this year.

Sarel Pretorius

Where else can we start than with Sarel Pretorius? The vastly-experienced scrum-half is heading to the Kings after three seasons with the Dragons.

Fans of the Guinness PRO14 will be only too familiar with the diminutive Pretorius, who has plied his trade in a number of different countries around the world.

He will provide an experienced option alongside Rudi van Rooyen, who made 15 appearances for the Kings last season.

With nine tries already to his name in the Guinness PRO14, Pretorius is always a threat to cross the whitewash, a talent he has been known for since he first broke onto the scene with the Cheetahs in Super Rugby more than a decade ago.

JC Astle and Schalk Oelofse

We will go for two in one for our second ones to watch, with forwards JC Astle and Schalk Oelofse both arriving from French side Mont de Marsan.

The pair have followed remarkably similar paths, having spent time with the Sharks, and had previous stints with the Kings before heading to France.

After two years in Europe, they return to the Kings, and will provide plenty of competition in the second row.

Experienced duo Dries van Schalkwyk and Giant Mtyanda will continue to be valuable members of the squad, while Bobby de Wee was arguably the Kings’ star player last season.

But in Astle and Port-Elizabeth native Oelofse, they have two players who should add a lot. Astle is arguably the more athletic in the lineout and at restarts, while Oelofse is a tireless worker both in defence and when carrying. Expect them both to feature regularly for Deon Davids’ side.

Kurt Coleman

Not a new face, but an important one who was missing for large parts of last season, Kurt Coleman could be a game changer for the Kings.

The 28-year-old is an experienced fly-half who played regularly for the Stormers in Super Rugby and was due to be one of the shining lights for the Kings last season.

He was hampered by injuries, making just eight appearances before a broken leg ended his season.

That meant six months on the sidelines, and we will have to wait until September to see him back in action.

But once he does get back up to speed, Coleman will offer a guiding hand for the Kings as the playmaker in the half-backs.

If he can string a number of games together, we could see the exciting outside backs in Port Elizabeth really thrive next term.

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