Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Highveld Affair Promises Plenty of Tries

Avatar Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor 26 Apr 2019

Guinness PRO14 is back with a thrilling raft of fixtures after the European ties last weekend.

And a trip to Bloemfontein on the cards, fans can look forward to an all-South African clash as Toyota Cheetahs host the Isuzu Southern Kings.

What’s at stake?

While both sides are firmly out of the running for a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, the tie represents a domestic rivalry that will have fans intrigued.

Having just signed Jerry Sexton – brother of Leinster Rugby star Johnny – Southern Kings are making clear steps to building a more competitive side next season.

As such, finishing off with a win – which would ensure they will not end bottom of Conference B, where Dragons currently lie – will build some momentum to take into next season.

Toyota Cheetahs have fared slightly better, and remained in the Final Series running for a while before it fell out of sight – which is why chalking up their eighth win of the season will be important.

Team news (Toyota Cheetahs)

Franco Smith has made a raft of changes ahead of the team’s final game – starting with Aranos Coetzee at prop.

Marnus van der Merwe replaced the injured Gerhard Olivier at flanker, while Louis Fouche and Malcolm Jaer swap positions in the XV.

Meanwhile, Boan Venter and Erich de Jager could make their debuts as they are named among the replacements.

Team news (Isuzu Southern Kings)

Equally, Deon Davids has rung the changes – starting with the return of Masixole Banda and Fijian Meli Banda, who replaces injured winger Yaw Penxe.

Exciting fly-half Courtney Winnaar will make his debut for the side after signing from the Sharks a fortnight ago.

Sibusiso Sithole will start in the centre while Michael Willemse will play his final game for the club before moving to Edinburgh this summer.

Lastly, Dries van Schalkwyk and Stephan de Wit earn places in the XV.

Talking points

Toyota Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer said: “The Southern Kings always offers a challenge and we are prepared for them.

“Our players are excited to play in front of our home crowd and would like to treat them to an exciting game of running rugby.

“Our last two home games were frustrating in the sense that we weren’t rewarded with the effort put in on the field.  We hope that things will work in our favour on Saturday.”

Isuzu Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids said: “It’s been a tough week for us given the fact that this is our last game of what has been a long season.

“There has also been a sense of excitement with everyone looking forward to this last one after all the commitment and hard work during the course of the past year. We just want to enjoy and express ourselves in a positive manner in our last game.

“We’ve done our best this week to prepare to the best of our ability.

“We always give it our best shot. We always know that the Cheetahs are a tough opposition whether we play them in Port Elizabeth or Bloemfontein.

“If we want to beat them, we will have to be at our best. We will have to have all of our systems working, and we will have to be able to play beyond 80 minutes. That is exactly what we will try to do.”

Key battle – Rabz Maxwane vs Yaw Penxe

Throughout the season, fans of any Guinness PRO14 team could always look at Rabz Maxwane for guaranteed entertainment.

The league’s top scorer has been relentless, notching 14 tries and he looks like he’ll be in a straight offensive shootout with Southern Kings’ Yaw Penxe – the speedster has scored some stunning tries this season.

Key fact: Last time these teams met, Toyota Cheetahs triumphed in an astonishing 40-36 victory.

Did you know? Isuzu Southern Kings have never won a game against this weekend’s opponents in the Guinness PRO14.

Toyota Cheetahs: Louis Fouche, Tian Meyer ©, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Dries Swanepoel, Rabz Maxwane, Tian Schoeman, Shaun Venter, Charles Marais, Joseph Dweba, Aranos Coetzee, Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez, Marnus van der Merwe, Abongile, Nonkontwana, Henco Venter

Replacements: Reinach Venter, Boan Venter, Erich de Jager, Sintu Manjezi, Jasper Wiese, Rudy Paige, Malcolm Jaer, Darron Adonis

Isuzu Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Meli Rokoua, Harlon Klaasen, Sibusiso Sithole, Bjorn Basson, Courtney Winnaar, Stefan Ungerer, Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse, De-Jay Terblanche, Andries Van Schalkwyk, John-Charles Astle ©, Stephan De Wit, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm

Replacements: Alandre Van Rooyen, Xandre Vos, Lupumlo Mguca, Schalk Oelofse, Jurie Van Vuuren, Rudi Van Rooyen, Bader Pretorius, Ntabeni Dukisa

TV: At Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, 5.30pm. Live on Supersport and DAZN.

Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)

AR1: Aled Evans (WRU), AR2: Paul Mente (SARU)

TMO: Johann Greeffe (SARU)

The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

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

Cheetahs finish on cloud nine as Venter bags brace

Avatar Andy Baber 27 Apr 2019

Shaun Venter scored a brace as Toyota Cheetahs ran in nine tries in a scintillating attacking display to maintain their unblemished record against Isuzu Southern Kings.

Cheetahs had won all of their previous nine meetings with the visitors in the Guinness PRO14 before the game – and they continued their unbeaten run with a dominant 61-25 triumph.

Abongile Nonkontwana, Walt Steenkamp, Joseph Dweba, Louis Fouche, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Jaer and Boan Venter were also among the try scorers for the hosts.

The Kings did close the gap to 33-25 after the break thanks to Harlon Klaasen’s double, plus a Bjorn Basson try, but the hosts never looked in trouble as they finished the season on a high.

The final all-South African duel of the campaign saw Masixole Banda give the visitors an early lead in Bloemfontein with a penalty as Kings started the brighter of the two sides.

Cheetahs responded almost immediately, though, as their powerful forward pack started to pile pressure on Kings, with Nonkontwana benefitting from a driving lineout maul.

A second try for Cheetahs followed on 17 minutes when the Kings defence opened up to allow Steenkamp to burst through the hole and score with his outstretched arm.

A yellow card for Meli Rokoua added to Kings’ troubles and the hosts took advantage from their next attack, with Dweba the man pushed over by the driving maul this time.

Schoeman continued his hot-streak from the kicking tee to add a third conversion from three, before Kings showed their fight with their second try through Klaasen to cut the deficit to 21-13.

Cheetahs continued to show their attacking prowess, however, and bagged their bonus-point score with a wonderful move finished off by Venter, with Schoeman kicking the extras again.

While the half-time break provided a brief respite for the visitors, Cheetahs were soon hammering away at the Kings’ line again and scored a fifth try through Fouche on 41 minutes.

But Kings refused to give in and Klaasen’s second try of the game, along with a Basson’s score on 50 minutes, saw them close the deficit to 33-25 with just under half an hour to play.

Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were soon extinguished, though, with Janse van Rensburg dotting down his side’s sixth of the afternoon – Schoeman once again converting.

Venter went over for his second try moments later to make the result safe, before Kings buckled in the final ten minutes – conceding further tries to Jaer and Boan Venter.

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

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Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138