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Siyabonga Masuku to start at flyhalf for the Kings in Connacht clash

The 23-year-old, who has made three appearances from the bench so far this season, replaces Demetri Catrakilis, who has sustained an ankle injury.

Siyabonga Masuku. Picture: Isuzu Southern Kings photographer Marc Sing Key

CAPE TOWN - Southern Kings flyhalf Siyabonga Masuku will earn his first starting berth when the Port Elizabeth-based side takes on Connacht Rugby in a PRO14 match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.

The 23-year-old, who has made three appearances from the bench so far this season, replaces Demetri Catrakilis, who has sustained an ankle injury.

Backing Masuku from the bench is 18-year-old understudy, Tiaan Botes, who will make his first senior rugby appearance.

Botes, a former Helpmekaar High School First XV star, was one of the sought-after young schoolboy talents until he completed his schooling last year.

“It’s great to see Siya Masuku getting an opportunity following the injury to Demetri Catrakilis. He has been working hard and deserves his opportunity,” said interim head coach, Robbi Kempson.

“I’m very excited for Tiaan Botes. I think he has come a long way and is a highly talented individual. He had a run in one of our practice matches against Nelson Mandela University, and he showed that he is an exciting prospect and deserves his opportunity as well.”

Masixole Banda has also made a return to the starting XV where he will take the place of Courtney Winnaar, who has also sustained an ankle injury.

In the forwards pack, Thembelani Bholi will also be rewarded with a starting berth at blindside flank, where he rotates with Ruaan Lerm, who will be on the bench. Hooker Alandre van Rooyen will also return to the starting XV where he will don the No2 jersey in place of the injured Jacques du Toit.

Southern Kings: 15. Masixole Banda, 14. Christopher Hollis, 13. Sibusiso Sithole, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Erich Cronje, 10. Siyabonga Masuku, 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Elrigh Louw, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Lusanda Badiyana, 5. JC Astle (c), 4. Jerry Sexton, 3. Rossouw de Klerk, 2. Alandre van Rooyen, 1. Schalk Ferreira.

Replacements: 16. Robin Stevens, 17. Xandre Vos, 18. Pieter Scholtz, 19. Bobby de Wee, 20. Ruaan Lerm, 21. Theo Maree, 22. Tiaan Botes, 23. Josiah Twum-Boafo.