Isuzu Southern Kings will come into their game against Benetton Rugby off the back of five straight defeats and will be hoping to turn the tides.
The Kings, bottom of Conference B, will host Kieran Crowley’s men as they attempt to overcome three straight defeats of their own – making this one a must win for both sides.
What’s at stake?
Since beating Glasgow Warriors at home in round four the Kings have gone on to lose five league games in a row.
Benetton are also in something of a rut as they have only won one of their last seven in the Guinness PRO14 and that was against the Kings at home in round six, a comfortable 28-5 success.
The Italians will welcome back their internationals this weekend and will be hoping for a first away win since the opening round of the season.
Benetton have won on each of the three occasions that the two sides have faced each other In the Guinness PRO14.
Team news (Kings):
Head coach Deon Davids has made seven changes to his starting lineup ahead of Round 10 clash at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium.
Hooker Alandre van Rooyen sustained a concussion in the match against Connacht last weekend so Kerron Van Vuuren will get his first cap for the Kings.Elsewhere new recruits Tertius Kruger and Meli Rokoua will line up at inside and outside centre respectively and start as a pair together for the first time.
There is a total of four changes the backline as Michael Botha returns at fullback, while Bjorn Basson gets a start at left win where he replaces Michael Makase. Yaw Penxe moves from left wing to the right side.
Team news (Benetton):
For Benetton Angelo Esposito will start at fullback while Ratuva Tavuyara and Monty Ioane occupy the wings.
Crowley has chosen to go with Tommaso Iannone and Marco Zanon in the centres with Dewaldt Duvenage at scrum half and Ian McKinley at fly-half.
The front row will consist of Nicola Quaglio, Hame Faiva and Marco Riccioni. The second-rowers will be Irné Herbst and Federico Ruzza.
Finally, the back row sees Giovanni Pettinelli, Michele Lamaro and captain Marco Barbini completing the XV.
“We have a few injuries which will mean changes,” Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
“Centre Berton Klaasen has a leg injury. This will enable us to see what Fijian Meli Rokoua can do from the start, and Tertius Kruger has also been good.
“With Martin du Toit suffering from a knee injury, Ntabeni Dukisa would have been the logical choice at No 10. But he has a minor shoulder injury, so Masixole Banda will shift in at No 10.
“A guy like Michael Botha will now get a chance. We will also get Ulrich Beyers in the mix from the bench.”
Key battle: Yaw Penxe vs Monty Ioane
This result could hinge on the performances of King’s winger Yaw Penxe and his opposite man for Benetton, Monty Ioane.
Penxe has scored five tries this season, the most of any Kings player while Ioane has notched crucial tries for the Italians.
The winger ran in a match-winning score when his side faced off against Cardiff Blues and will be hoping to do the same to Kings.
Key stat: The two sides have met on three previous occasions with the Italians winning all three.
Did you know? The Kings have played five previous games against Italian opponents and lost them all.
Benetton Rugby: 15 Angelo Esposito, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Marco Barbini (C), 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Nicola Quaglio
Replacement: 16 Engjel Makelara, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Giuseppe Di Stefano, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Antonio Rizzi, 23 Alberto Sgarbi
Isuzu Southern Kings: 15 Michael Botha, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 1 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron Van Vuuren, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 4 Stephan Greeff, 5 John-Charles Astle (C), 6 Cyril-John Velleman, 7 Martinus Burger, 8 Ruaan Lerm
Replacements: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Luvuyo Pupuma, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Harlon Klaasen
TV: Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 7.15pm. Live on DAZN, Super Sports & Free Sports
Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: George Clancy (IRFU), Ruhan Meiring (SARU)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)
Citing Commissioner: Wilhelm de Villiers (SARU)
A first-half hat-trick from Hame Faiva ensured Benetton returned to winning ways as they consigned Isuzu Southern Kings to their sixth consecutive defeat in the Guinness PRO14.
Benetton maintained their perfect record against the Kings with a 22-19 victory to pick up maximum points on the road for the first time since beating Dragons at Rodney Parade in Round 1.
Hooker Faiva capitalised on Benetton’s forward dominance as he scored three almost identical tries to give the visitors a 17-7 lead at the interval, with Kings responding through Tertius Kruger.
A brilliant individual score from Monty Ioane sealed the bonus-point for Benetton, before Kings made it interesting with two late tries from Luvuyo Pupuma and a second for Kruger.
But it was not enough to rescue the result for Kings, who remain bottom of Conference B with just one win to their name, while Benetton moved above Edinburgh into fourth.
The Italians went into the game having only won one of their last seven games, which also came against the South African side in the reverse fixture in October.
Kings were also on a winless streak stretching back to September and they suffered the worst possible start when a driving lineout maul ended with Faiva crashing over.
The hosts responded quickly with a try of their own through inside centre Kruger, who cut through the Benetton defensive line with a devastating run to dot down.
— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) December 1, 2018
Masixole Banda successfully converted the extras to give Kings the lead, but it would prove to be the last time they would have their noses in front as they struggled to deal with Benetton’s power.
Knowing they had the advantage in the forward pack, the visitors took advantage of a penalty to kick to the corner and set up another lineout from which they exerted more pressure.
The rolling maul was only ever going to end in one way as Benetton powered over for their second try, with Faiva once again the man to put the finishing touches to the move.
Ian McKinley was able to convert this time to extend Benetton’s lead to 12-7, before Faiva claimed his third try of the game just before the break.
It was a case of déjà vu as a lineout deep in Southern Kings’ territory was executed to perfection, allowing Faiva to sit pretty behind the maul and crash over the line.
The bonus-point followed soon after the break, but rather than relying on forward power, Benetton’s fourth try owed everything to brilliant play from the backline.
Tommaso Iannone broke at pace and placed a grubber kick through for Ioane, who shrugged off Michael Botha and gathered the ball just before it went into touch to cross the whitewash.
Kings showed their fighting spirit by scoring their second try through Pupuma with six minutes left on the clock, converted by Banda, to close the gap to 22-14.
A stunning break from Harlon Klaasen then set up a second try of the game for Kruger, who gathered the ball and stormed over the line to earn a losing bonus point for Kings.
But it was too little, too late to affect the result as Benetton emerged triumphant.
30 Nov 2018