Rugby 19.4.2017 05:53 pm

Kings and Stokkies Hanekom experience a special Super Rugby irony

Stokkies Hanekom will pop up in unfamiliar kit in Sydney on Friday. Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images.

Stokkies Hanekom will pop up in unfamiliar kit in Sydney on Friday. Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images.

The on-loan centre from the Lions could make his debut for the Kings, four years after he brought them heartache.

If Stokkies Hanekom comes on as replacement for the Kings against the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday, it would be a rather ironic twist of fate.

Four years ago, the 27-year centre delivered one of the more devastating blows to rugby in the Eastern Cape.

In the first of two controversial promotion-relegation matches, Hanekom scored both the Lions’ tries in a vital 26-19 victory that eventually led to the Kings’ demotion from Super Rugby.

The strapping 1.93m, 101kg midfielder was supposed to roar like the Lions did after that.

But indifferent form and a rash of injuries saw other teammates streak ahead of him.

Now on-loan to the Kings, Hanekom needs to add value to the side he sunk in 2013.

There’s no hard feelings though.

In fact, the Kings are grateful for him providing depth at a time when some of their stars in the backline are starting to feel the pinch.

“(Wingers) Yaw Penxe and Malcolm Jaer (who sustained a knee injury after the Force game) are youngsters who did a great job for us,” said coach Deon Davids on Wednesday.

“We are lucky to fall back on the experience of Stokkies, who joined us. We are hopeful (he’ll) will grab the opportunity and make the step up.”

It’s been a tough tour results-wise to date for the men from Port Elizabeth but they’ve certainly been competitive, especially on the attack.

More importantly, it at least seems as if team spirit has been decent.

“We are a team that has grown tremendously on and off the field. The players have adapted well to the challenges of Vodacom Super Rugby. As a teammates they have grown closer to one another,” he said.

“It is still a process, but with each game we are improving. I think we will continue to do that throughout the competition.We want to end the tour well.”

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