Toyota Cheetahs team to face Dragons

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor
12 April 2019

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The Toyota Cheetahs will look to bounce back on Saturday when they face the Dragons for the first time in Bloemfontein on the penultimate pool round this weekend.

Tian Meyer

Action kicks off at 19:35 (SA time) with a live broadcast on SuperSport 5 and SuperSport CSN (as well as Premier Sports and DAZN).

At 17:00 the Toyota Free State XV will be taking on the Griffons in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge warm-up game.

From 17:30 to 19:15, the Free State Athletics Stadium right next to Toyota Stadium will be hosting the first leg of the Athletics Grand Prix Series and one entry ticket will allow access to both events.

Anton Botha will provide entertainment at the Castle Deck before and after the main match. Gates open at 16:00.

With two home matches remaining in the competition – the last of which is a South African derby against the Isuzu Southern Kings – the team is targeting a strong finish to the season.

The Free Staters have performed better than the Welshmen in the Guinness PRO14 this season with six victories and 36 log points in their 19 matches, to four wins and 21 points by the visitors, while they boast a far better attacking record with 66 tries to the Dragons’ 32.

The teams, however, have been closely matched on defence, with the Toyota Cheetahs conceding two more tries so far in the competition, but with the Dragons still in the hunt for their first away win, and the team inspired by an 18-18 draw against the Isuzu Southern Kings, it could be a cracker.

The Toyota Cheetahs registered a 29-17 victory against the Dragons in their only outing up until now in Newport last season, and they will look to maintain their dominance over the side as they go in search of their first home win since 2 February.

There may not be much more than pride at stake for the two South African teams, but a handful of players are in the running for the Dacia Ironman Award, which celebrates the player who has accumulated the most minutes on the field over the 21 pool rounds. Tian Schoeman, Rabz Maxwane, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, William Small-Smith and Junior Pokomela are among the top players in contention for the award.

Coach Franco Smith has announced his team for the clash with minor changes:

• JP du Preez moves to the starting line-up with Sintu Manjezi providing cover on the bench.
• Tian Meyer replaces the injured William Small-Smith. Meyer will be leading the team on to the field.

The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury: Oupa Mohoje (knee), Aidon Davis (broken leg), Junior Pokomela (back), Schalk van der Merwe (groin), Justin Basson (knee), William Small-Smith (knee).

Oupa, Junior, Schalk and William are all expected to recover in time for Currie Cup. Justin is expected to be ready for action in December.

Players on suspension: Nico Lee, Ox Nche

Toyota Cheetahs

1. Charles Marais (36)
2. Joseph Dweba (17)
3. Luan de Bruin (10)
4. Walt Steenkamp (17)
5. JP du Preez (18)
6. Gerhard Olivier (18)
7. Abongile Nonkontwana (13)
8. Henco Venter (21)
9. Shaun Venter (34)
10. Tian Schoeman (19)
11. Rabz Maxwane (26)
12. Dries Swanepoel (6)
13. Benhard Janse van Rensburg (18)
14. Tian Meyer (29)(C )
15. Malcolm Jaer (16)

16. Marnus van der Merwe (6)
17. Aranos Coetzee (41)
18. Reinach Venter (10)
19. Sintu Manjezi (11)
20. Jasper Wiese (6)
21. Rudy Paige (8)
22. Louis Fouche (13)
23. Darron Adonis (1)

• Guinness PRO14 caps indicated next the player’s name.

The referee for the match is Sean Gallagher (IRFU). He will be assisted by John Lacey (IRFU), and Griffin Colby (SARU). TMO is Johan Greeff (SARU).

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