Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Toyota Cheetahs vs Ospreys

Avatar Kumail Jaffer 5 Apr 2019

After a brief break for European fixtures, Guinness PRO14 is back with a bang as Ospreys travel to Toyota Cheetahs in a tasty Conference A clash.

With the Welsh side falling behind the leading pack, it’s a must win for Ospreys – but they’ll face a tough test in South Africa.

What’s at stake?

Ospreys know they must win their three remaining fixtures in order to stand a chance of qualifying for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

They currently sit on 44 points – eight behind Connacht Rugby, who occupy the last qualification spot.

Meanwhile, Toyota Cheetahs, though out of the running for the post-season, will want to build up some good form and end the season on a high.

Having suffered four consecutive losses, they’ll want to give their home fans something to shout about this weekend.

Team news (Cheetahs)

Joseph Dweba will start at hooker as Marnus van der Merwe drops to the bench, while Gerhard Olivier gets the nod at flanker.

In a positional switch, Luan de Bruin and Aranos Coetzee will change places with De Bruin starting at tighthead prop.

Team news (Ospreys)

Allen Clarke has gone with an unchanged side after some Dan Evans magic inspired his team to a 29-20 win over Dragons last time out.

Alun Wyn Jones, Giorgi Nemsadze, George North, Kieran Williams and Scott Williams all remain sidelined for the Welsh outfit.

Talking points

Toyota Cheetahs captain Shaun Venter said: “We are a lot better than at the beginning of the season and our goal is to win all three matches at home.

“We want to make the supporters proud.”

Ospreys Head Coach Allen Clarke said: “With three games left it’s a simple equation for us. We know what the challenge is over the last three rounds of the regular season and our focus is on ourselves, and what we can control.

“The Cheetahs are a quality team and a formidable force at home. They are particularly dangerous in open field play with the ability to strike from deep.

“Having said that there’s a real buzz amongst the squad and a clear understanding of what we need to do to impose our game on the opposition.

“We’ll have to be at our best defensively and, in attack, be accurate and clinical.”

Key Battle – Rabz Maxwane vs Keelan Giles

Maxwane has been a revelation in the Guinness PRO14 this season as his 13 tries scored leads both conferences.

His pace and power have proven too much for any opponent and his impressive performances have been a bright spark in Cheetah’s season.

It will be the job of 21-year-old Welshman Keelan Giles to keep him quiet and do the business at the other end.

The winger has scored  two tries in his third season for the club as he continues his development.

Key fact: Cheetahs have lost their last four games, while Ospreys have tasted defeat in four of their last five fixtures.

Did you know? The sides have only met three times before, with Ospreys leading the mini-series 2-1.

Cheetahs: Jaer; Small-Smith, Janse van Rensburg, Swanepoel, Maxwane; Schoeman, S Venter (capt); Marais, Dweba, de Bruin, Manjezi, W Steenkamp, Olivier, Nonkontwana, H Venter

Replacements: Van der Merwe, Coetzee, Venter, du Preez, Wiese, Basson, Paige, Fouche

Ospreys: Evans; Dirksen, Allen, Watkin, Giles; Price, A Davies; Smith, Baldwin, Botha, Beard, B Davies, Cracknell, Tipuric (capt), King

Replacements: Otten, Jones, Fia, Lydiate, Cross, Aubrey, S Davies, Morgan

TV: At Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, 4.30pm. Live on DAZN and Premier Sports.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (IRFU), Ben Crouse (SARU)

TMO: Johan Greeff (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

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Allen grabs bonus-point score as Ospreys keep up Final Series push

Avatar cmcloughlin 6 Apr 2019

Cory Allen scored the crucial bonus-point try as Ospreys kept up their pursuit of a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

The centre touched down in the second half to complement earlier scores from Dan Evans, Olly Cracknell and Justin Tipuric.

It leaves Allen Clarke’s side sitting in fifth but they have reduce the gap to Connacht Rugby and Cardiff Blues above them in Conference A as they battle for the final qualifying spot.

Both sides showed strong carrying in the opening exchanges but struggled to protect their own ball – Ospreys’ Nicky Smith and Cheetahs’ Benhard Janse van Rensburg securing early penalties for holding on.

A scoreless opening quarter saw the Welsh outfit kicking long as they looked to control territory in the game.

Ospreys threatened the line with a deep lineout half way through the opening period but their rolling maul was halted by the Cheetahs.

The visitors opened the scoring not long after making the most of Guinness PRO14 top try-scorer Rabs Maxwane dropping Aled Davies’ box kick.

After the ball went through the phases Evans spotted a gap thanks to the overlap, giving a quick dummy before racing in.

It was not long after Luke Price’s conversion when Ospreys doubled their advantage through blindside flanker Cracknell.

After a powerful break from Hanno Dirksen the ball was expertly handled by Davies, Price and lock Adam Beard before it went wide for the back-rower to run in.

The hosts threatened late in the half with a deep lineout but Ospreys won the feed at the scrum after halting their drive for the line.

Cheetahs stormed into the second period breaking from inside their 22 through Van Rensberg after the kick-off.

Justin Tipuric stopped the initial break but the ball was recycled and Dries Swanepoel powered over to give the hosts the perfect start to the half.

But it was undone almost instantly as Tipuric won a penalty from the restart and showed his experience to tap and go, evading the defenders and diving over to make it 21-7 after replacement Sam Davies’ conversion.

Ospreys looked to have secured the bonus point after 52 minutes when Cory Allen dived onto Owen Watkin’s stabbed grubber kick but he was ruled to be in front of the kicker.

It was just four minutes later when he did dive over, making the most of Evans’ offload close to the line to touch down.

Ospreys continued to push for extra points and added another three to their tally 12 minutes before the end through replacement fly-half Davies.

Cheetahs reduced arrears thanks to a late try from Reinach Venter, after a simple catch and drive from a deep lineout to dab down off the back of a maul to make it 31-14.

The visitors almost completed their win in style but No.8 James King, on his 150th Guinness PRO14 appearance, fumbled with the line begging after Sam Cross’ powerful break.

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

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