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Kings call-ups straight onto bench
ESPN Staff
March 22, 2013

Southern Kings players Devin Oosthuizen and Edgar Marutlulle were named on the bench to face the Crusaders at AMI Stadium on Saturday, even though they had not arrived in New Zealand after being called up to replace Tomas Leonardi and Virgile Lacombe.

Leonardi and Lacombe returned to Port Elizabeth as a consequence of the South African Rugby Union investigation into the Super 15 newcomers, for breaking its rules on foreign players, and Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons said the change of players on the tour would add its own set of challenges. "Obviously for Devin and Edgar, it's quite tough for them," said. "They only arrive at 9am [on Friday]."

Solomons, meanwhile, named Schalk Ferreira to lead the Kings in a match he said would be a big test for the team in terms of leadership and depth.

"Schalk Ferreira, who I think is an exemplary player, who always gives everything in every game, will no doubt lead by example," Solomons said. "And Ronnie Cooke as vice-captain has shifted in fantastically; he is a superb player and a superb bloke.

"Certain players weren't available, Steven Sykes took a knock and wasn't available and we didn't want to risk Andries [Strauss]. He's much better, but he's still a little bit bruised around the AC joint, and neither of them was considered for this particular game."

Solomons said the Kings were also missing team leaders Darron Nell and Luke Watson, who did not tour due to injury, as well as SP Marais, who started at fullback in the team's three matches to date. "For the rest we tried to get a measure of consistency again in our selection," he said. "But, while there is a level of consistency, what is also nice is that there are opportunities for players."

Solomons said the game against the Crusaders would be a tough challenge. "They're absolutely a top side and, what I regard as a measure of respect, they've chosen their best team. They have picked their strongest possible team and for us I think that's a huge challenge, but they've shown us that respect."

© ESPN Australa / New Zealand
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