Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

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Preview: Toyota Cheetahs v Leinster

Paul Eddison 21 Sep 2017

The Toyota Cheetahs got their first Guinness PRO14 victory under their belts last weekend – in Round Four they get to welcome the leaders in Conference B and a Leinster side with a perfect 15 points from 15 on Friday night at 8pm local time in Bloemfontein.

What’s at stake? Back on home soil, the Cheetahs came out on top in a thrilling encounter against Zebre, winning 54-39 to get a first win under their belts, and they will be looking to improve on that home record this weekend. Standing in their way is the small matter of Leinster, the second-best attack so far in the competition and the best defence, with three bonus-point wins out of three.

Team news (Toyota Cheetahs): The Cheetahs have made four changes to the team that beat Zebre, including a first appearance of the season for Springbok back row Oupa Mohoje. He comes in at No.8, while the other change in the pack sees loosehead prop Charles Marais promoted to the starting lineup. In the backs Tian Meyer comes in at scrum-half, while Rosko Specman is given the nod on the right wing.

Team news (Leinster): Available again after missing the Kings encounter because of visa issues, Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park are both included from the off in Bloemfontein. Barry Daly is the other change in the backs, but it’s a much-changed pack, including an all-new front row of Cian Healy, James Tracy and Michael Bent.

Talking points: Josh van der Flier will be making his 50th appearance for Leinster in the back row after being named at openside. It’s been a dramatic rise for the 24-year-old, who only made his provincial debut in late 2014. Starting alongside fellow Irish internationals Jordi Murphy and Jack Conan, Van der Flier will be looking to lay down a marker before the return of international teammates Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien.

Key Battle: Oupa Mohoje v Jack Conan

The Cheetahs looked impressive in attack against Zebre, and will be able to call on the dynamic Mohoje at No.8 this week. The 27-year-old has 17 Springbok caps to his name but he will be going up against a player in Conan who has become one of the best No.8s in the competition. A great carrier of the ball, Conan has made an impressive start to the campaign for Leinster so far.

Key Stat: Leinster are the only team with 15 points from 15 in the league, and only the second team ever to manage the feat. Last year the Ospreys also had maximum points from their first three matches before eventually reaching the semi-finals.

Did you know? Leinster have lost just once in the league in the regular season in 2017, a 17-13 loss to Ulster in the final round of last season.

Toyota Cheetahs: S Petersen, R Specman, F Venter, W Small-Smith, M Mapimpi, E Stapelberg, T Meyer, C Marais, T van Jaarsveld, T Botha, J Basson, R Hugo, P Schoeman, H Venter, O Mohoje.

Replacements: J du Toit, O Nche, J Coetzee, R Bernardo, J Pokomela, S Venter, N Lee, L Obi.

Leinster: J Carbery, D Kearney, N Reid, I Nacewa, B Daly, R Byrne, J Gibson-Park, C Healy, J Tracy, M Bent, R Molony, M Kearney, J Murphy, J van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: S Cronin, P Dooley, A Porter, R Ruddock, M Deegan, N McCarthy, C Marsh, R O’Loughlin.

TV: SuperSport1/Sky Sports Action (KO 8pm local)

Match officials – Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU), AR1: Ben Whitehouse (WRU), AR2: Stuart Berry (SARU) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Second win in a row for rampant Toyota Cheetahs

Jack Miller 22 Sep 2017

The Toyota Cheetahs notched up their second Guinness PRO14 triumph in as many weeks as a superb performance gave them the scalp of Conference B leaders Leinster in Bloemfontein.

After the South African side beat Zebre last weekend, tries from William Small-Smith, Torsten Van Jaarsveld, Ox Nche and Luther Obi made it two on the spin and inflicted a first defeat of the season on the Boys in Blue – despite a hat-trick of scores for Barry Daly.

The Cheetahs showed their intent right from the off, and took their chance for some early points on the board with Leinster offside in front of their posts, and fly-half Ernst Stapelberg did the honours to make it 3-0 with just two minutes gone.

But the visitors responded well, Mick Kearney wrestled out just short of the line after Joey Carbery broke and combined with Isa Nacewa.

Leinster had their try after five minutes, working the ball out well to the left after sucking in the Cheetahs defence with a drive, and Daly was left with a simple finish – although Ross Byrne’s conversion attempt missed.

The Cheetahs were back in front after eight minutes, with Leinster guilty of crossing and Stapelberg’s kick from just short of halfway sailing through the uprights.

Ill-discipline from the Boys in Blue became a theme for the remainder of the half, as despite ten minutes of Leinster pressure, the Cheetahs increased their advantage when Jack Conan was pinged for not rolling away just outside the 25.

Stapelberg obliged with the penalty, and the fly-half was metronomic from the tee as he made it 12-5 on 26 minutes, Byrne costing his side yet another three points with a deliberate knock-on.

And just when Leinster looked ready to strike, taking the ball into Cheetahs territory, the hosts recovered possession and scored with a stunning length of the field break in the 36th minute.

The Cheetahs’ forward pack put Leinster’s defence on the back foot with a scrum moving forwards, and after Francois Venter made the break, centre partner William Small-Smith was there in support to finish under the posts.

If that end to the first half didn’t knock the stuffing out of Leinster, the start to the second did as James Tracy was sin-binned for a reckless tackle.

The Cheetahs numerical advantage up front paid immediate dividends as they got momentum from a driving maul and Van Jaarsveld rumbled over the line for a try – although Stapelberg missed for a change with the conversion to make the scoreline 24-5.

Rosko Specman was then a whisker away from finding Venter with the tryline at his mercy for a certain score, but moment later Nche finished off try number three with a powerful leg drive through a couple of Leinster defenders,

But despite a commanding deficit of 31-5, Leinster did not give in and two more scores for Daly set up an interesting finish.

His second on the hour mark was almost a carbon copy of the first as the Cheetahs committed men up front and were caught short out wide, and 12 minutes later he timed an inside-swerve from the left to perfection to beat three defenders after Josh van der Flier’s break.

Lots of players were cramping up in the final stages and Leinster did not have quite enough in the tank to complete the comeback, with the exhausted Cheetahs snatching a bonus point as Obi intercepted replacement fly-half Cathal Marsh with the clock ticking into the red.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138