Rivalry Unrivalled: Two flyers leading the charge

Charlie Talbot-Smith
09 October 2019

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Let’s begin with the similarities between Rhyno Smith and Shane Daly.

Both men are versatile backs, still trying to find out their best position.

Both have appeared on the international Sevens stage and both have started this season like a train.

Daly was man of the match in both of Munster’s opening wins, and Smith did the same for the Toyota Cheetahs.

Something has to give this weekend then, when the two sides meet in Bloemfontein.

RHYNO ON THE CHARGE

At the age of 26, it has taken Smith a little while to truly flourish.

He is listed as a Universal Back by his Cheetahs side, but they might soon have to change that to Universe Boss.

Finally handed the No.15 jersey this season, after one appearance there last year that – coincidentally – was a try-scoring outing against Munster, Smith has grabbed his chance with both hands.

The Cheetahs have been on fire, scoring 111 points across handsome wins over Glasgow Warriors and Ulster.

And Smith has been at the forefront, with two tries in each game making him the league’s top try-scorer alongside Mark Bennett.

On top of that, he has also made the most carries of any player in the league, the most clean breaks and the second most metres.

Throw in two try assists for good measure, and it appears that Smith has really hit his stride this campaign.

SHANE’S ON FIRE

The 22-year-old Daly has long been highly rated by the Munster coaching staff.

The outside centre for Ireland’s impressive Under-20 crop back in 2016 that came within a whisker of lifting the world crown, Daly has had to bide his time.

Last year he was restricted to only four starts for the province in the league.

The ongoing Rugby World Cup has opened a few doors however, and now Daly has hit the limelight.

Equally capable in midfield, it is on the left wing that he has done his damage so far this season however.

His stats might not be as eye-popping as Smith’s, he has just the one try so far but it was a cracker.

On the opening weekend of the season he produced a fine solo score with a chip and chase against Dragons.

In all, Daly has already made five clean breaks this season and while in Munster’s second outing he didn’t cross the whitewash, he still made 115 metres with ball in hand and threatened the defence throughout.

FACE OFF

Smith’s chance with the Boks Sevens set-up came in 2018, while Daly’s stop-start career in the shorter format began the year before.

But it’s not hard to see why Sevens suits their skillsets, the array of attacking skills makes them two of the most entertaining players in the league on current evidence.

The battle of the back three this weekend in Bloemfontein will make for compelling viewing, and something has got to give.

Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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