The clash between the men from the Eastern Cape and their Welsh opponents takes place at the Nelson Mandela University on Sunday. If selected, it will be Dries van Schalkwyk’s 100th Guinness PRO14 appearance – he has 76 matches for Zebre and 23 for the Kings thus far – while Berton Klaasen, with 34 Guinness PRO14 and 15 Vodacom Super Rugby games, could raise his bat for a half century for the Isuzu Southern Kings.
The 34-year-old Van Schalkwyk played provincial rugby in South Africa for seven unions – Free State, the Valke, Boland, the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Leopards and Eastern Province – before moving to Italy, where he also made his international debut and played in 15 Tests for the Azzurri, before returning to South Africa last year.
Deon Davids’ charges hold a narrow one-point lead above the Dragons, but with the home side determined to please their fans in their penultimate home game, and the Dragons looking to earn their first away win this season, both teams will give everything.
The last time the sides met in Port Elizabeth, the hosts registered a comprehensive 45-13 victory, but the situation was vastly different at the Rodney Parade last September where the Isuzu Southern Kings went down 27-22 in a close encounter.
The hosts will look to build on their encouraging attacking track record this season, which has seen them score 17 more tries than the Dragons, but their defence will have to be equally effective to tame the Dragons, who have earned two more victories.
Date: Sunday, 7 April
SA time: 15h00
Venue: Madibaz Stadium, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (IRFU), Paul Mente (SA Rugby)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SA Rugby)