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Toyota Cheetahs v Cardiff Blues: head to head

Rich Dore

6 Apr 2018

Toyota Cheetahs claimed just their second away win of the season when they defeated the Dragons 29-17 in their last Guinness PRO14 match two weeks ago.

It allowed the Bloemfontein-based outfit to maintain their play-off push and they go into Round 19 third in Conference A. They can all but secure their place in the Final Series if they defeat Cardiff Blues this weekend.

Danny Wilson’s side are five points behind their opponents after they defeated Ulster 35-17 at Cardiff Arms Park to record their fifth league win in a row in their last fixture.

Since then, the Blues have reached the semi-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, following a 20-6 victory at Edinburgh, so they’ll be travelling to South Africa with plenty of confidence.

The Blues defeated the Cheetahs 25-20 the last time these two sides met in February and here are two head-to-heads that could decide the return game at the Toyota Stadium.

Clayton Blommetjies v Matthew Morgan

Both of these players are full-backs who love to run the ball back from deep and leave defenders trailing in their wake.

Clayton Blommetjies certainly ate up the ground in the Cheetahs’ victory at Rodney Parade, where he gained a staggering 173 metres – more than any other player in Round 18 of the Guinness PRO14.

Meanwhile, Matthew Morgan topped a category of his own, with no player in the Championship beating more defenders than the eight Ulster players the 25-year-old left for dead.

Those stats mirror each players’ respective strengths, with Blommetjies able to rely on his searing pace on the counter attack.

The diminutive Morgan, however, uses his low centre of gravity to weave his way through defenders and the Cheetahs will have to shut down the space quickly to prevent him causing damage.

How he deals with the altitude in Bloemfontein could prove crucial, with conditions set to favour the running rugby that makes each player such a threat.

Uzair Cassiem v Josh Navidi

Uzair Cassiem will become an even more familiar opponent to the Blues next season, when the 28-year-old No.8 joins up with Guinness PRO14 champions Scarlets.

He is set to go head-to-head with a player we’ve become more accustomed to seeing produce barnstorming displays at No.7 for region and country this season.

This year has been a real breakthrough for Josh Navidi, who has ensured that Wales did not miss some high-profile casualties in their back row during the Autumn Internationals and the Six Nations.

However, he will be at the back of the scrum this weekend after Olly Robinson was chosen to start at openside by Wilson.

It should do nothing to curb his rampaging habits in the loose, however, and it will be up to Cassiem to prevent him from making too much headway.

He won’t be with the Cheetahs for much longer, but he’ll be keen to ensure that his final season with them could yet end in Championship glory.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
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