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The new season opens on the evening of Friday 1st September as Ulster take on Toyota Cheetahs live on BBC Northern Ireland, the game will also be screened live in South Africa with our broadcaster who will be confirmed in the coming days.
Cape Town - Southern Kings hooker, Michael Willemse, will lead the Port Elizabeth side on their maiden PRO14 tour.
Head coach Deon Davids announced his 27-man touring squad on Monday that will open their Guinness PRO14 season with an encounter against defending champions, the Scarlets, in Wales before travelling to Ireland to take on Connacht. He confirmed the hard-working Willemse as captain for the tour.
In confirming the 24-year-old Willemse as the first Southern Kings captain in the Guinness PRO14 Championship, Davids described the decision to select the hooker as the team leader as a “natural” one.
Willemse, who was part of the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby side earlier in the year, re-joined the Eastern Cape side after having moved to the Golden Lions in July.
“I have decided that Michael Willemse will lead this group on this tour,” Davids said on Monday.
“He re-joined us and has been with us for about a week. Mike is quite familiar with our team culture and the way we play.
“I think he was one of the standout performers for us last season in the Super Rugby competition. He is one of our core group of players that are still part of our setup. He has been a natural choice for me to take up that role as captain.”