EASTERN Province Kings captain Luke Watson will be back to take his place in the starting line-up when they take on Border at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
Watson has been absent for almost five months after he sustained a shoulder injury earlier this year, but now returns to replace stand-in captain Darron Nell, who has been given a rest.
Coach Alan Solomons yesterday named a 27-member squad for the derby clash, but that will be cut down to 22 players tomorrow.
Devin Oosthuizen, who hurt his shoulder during practice this week, and the injured Boela Abrahams are doubtful for the final squad.
Prop Jaco Engels has been training hard with the team after sustaining calf and foot injuries and he returns to the squad.
Solomons said Watson was 100% fit and he was ready to take his place as captain. He said Nell had done fantastic work as captain but it was time for him and prop Clint Newland to get some rest.
"We are certain that there should be a certain amount of rotation in the squad because there are 18 matches still to be played and we have only played three so far.”
Solomons also brought Lizo Gqoboka back after he came off the bench in the game against the Falcons last week. He saw Gqoboka as a prospect for the future and said he had played exceptionally well in the last game.
Watson said it was frustrating for him not to have played for such a long time. "It was my first serious injury of my career but I’m hoping to play as long as the game lasts. We are working hard as a team and I’m looking forward to Friday night’s game.”
The squad is:
Reynier Bernardo, David Bulbring, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jaco Engels, Hannes Franklin, Lizo Gqoboka, Wayne van Heerden, Frank Herne, Thabo Mamojele, Devin Oosthuizen, Charl du Plessis, Cornel du Preez, Luke Watson (captain), Wimpie van der Walt, Boela Abrahams, Wesley Dunlop, Michael Killian, Tiger Mangweni, SP Marais, Falie Oelschig, Marcello Sampson, Wayne Stevens, Scott van Breda, Reynier van Rooyen George Whitehead, Norman Nelson, Jongi Nokwe.