THERE are serious doubts whether Southern Kings skipper Luke Watson will be fit to lead his team against the Sharks in a Super Rugby showdown in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Watson did not train with the Kings yesterday and was seen leaving the stadium two hours ahead of his team's vigorous field session at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
It is believed that Watson, who suffered a throat injury during his team's opening game against the Western Force, is battling to speak and communicate with his teammates.
If Watson is unable to take his place in the team it will be a major setback for the Kings as they bid to retain their unbeaten record in the competition.
When Watson left the field against the Force, centre Andries Strauss took over the captaincy. He is favoured to be given the nod again if Watson is not fit to take his place.
Burly prop forward Schalk Ferreira sat out yesterday's training session and it is believed a rib injury could keep him out of Saturday's showdown.
While the news about Watson and Ferreira was not good, there was plenty of energy at the training session, with Strauss encouraging teen star Sergeal Petersen.
Jaco Engels, who came on from the bench against the Force, is now likely to start against the Sharks.
The player combinations used at yesterday's training session suggest that lock Darron Nell, who has been sidelined by injury, could start against the Sharks.
The Kings can expect a torrid time up front against the Sharks and Nell and Engels could provide the Kings with extra firepower up front.
The Kings starting line-up is expected to be named today by Kings rugby director Alan Solomons and head coach Matt Sexton. The Sharks will bring a powerful scrumming unit to Port Elizabeth and it is vital that the Kings front up in the forwards in what promises to be a titanic struggle.
Scrumhalf Shaun Venter, who enjoyed a solid game against the Force, is expected to start against the Sharks while Vergallo might find a place on the bench.
With regular Kings hooker Hannes Franklin also on the mend, former Springbok Bandise Maku will be challenged for a starting berth at some point.
Maku had a solid game against the Force and Edgar Marutlulle also impressed after he came on as a replacement against the Force.