The Toyota Cheetahs and Edinburgh find themselves in similar positions in their respective Guinness PRO14 conferences so as they prepare to face off, there is everything to play for in Bloemfontein.
The South African side sit in the final play-off spot in Conference A, while Edinburgh are one place out of the play-offs in Conference B.
With Edinburgh on a five-match win streak in all competitions, and the Cheetahs having lost just once on home soil this season, we’ve picked out two of the key match-ups from the game.
Clayton Blommetjies v Blair Kinghorn
The vastly experienced Clayton Blommetjies returns at full-back for the Cheetahs, and they will be hoping he is straight back up to speed providing an attacking threat. The 27-year-old slots into the role vacated by Fred Zeilinga, who shifts to fly-half in place of the injured Ernst Stapelberg. While it’s never ideal to have to reshuffle due to injury, the versatility of Zeilinga and Blommetjies will be handy for Rory Duncan’s side. Meanwhile Edinburgh can turn to youngster Blair Kinghorn in the No.15 jersey, with the 20-year-old having really come into his own this season. A former Scotland Under-20s star, Kinghorn must be close to Gregor Townsend’s senior squad on current form, and with his kicking game and deceptive pace, he has become a key figure in the Edinburgh backline. His kicking could prove particularly important in the altitude in Bloemfontein, as Richard Cockerill’s team try to win the territory battle against the free-scoring Cheetahs.
Junior Pokomela v Viliame Mata
The inclusion of former Ospreys flanker Rynier Bernardo will certainly boost the Cheetahs, but one of their standout performers so far this campaign has been Junior Pokomela. The No.8 is still only 20 years old but has been a bright light for the Cheetahs since getting his chance in the home game against Zebre. While he inevitably lacks experience, Pokomela has been highly rated since impressing in the Craven Week in the age groups and has taken to the top level in style. He will go up against the mercurial Viliame Mata, who starts at No.8 for Edinburgh. The Fijian international has already become a popular figure in the Scottish capital for his remarkable offloading ability and on the high veldt his ability to put players into space will be crucial.
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 can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie