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Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Toyota Cheetahs v Edinburgh

Paul Eddison 23 Nov 2017

In the sole inter-conference clash in round nine of the Guinness PRO14, the Toyota Cheetahs welcome Edinburgh to Bloemfontein. The game, which kicks off at 7.30pm local time (5.30pm GMT) will be the Scottish side’s first taste of touring South Africa against a Cheetahs team currently in play-off contention.

What’s at stake? After a brilliant start to their campaign, Edinburgh suffered a dip in form during which they lost three straight games. They have since responded with wins over both Italian teams, as well as the Ospreys, to move back into fourth spot in Conference B, four points from the play-offs. But in the Cheetahs they face a team who have lost just once at home this term, a heart-breaking reverse against Glasgow Warriors. Aside from that slip-up, the South African side have been ominously good on home soil and will look to improve on that record.

Team news (Toyota Cheetahs): Rory Duncan has made a number of changes to the team that went down to Connacht in early November. Fred Zeilinga switches from full-back to fly-half to accommodate the returning Clayton Blommetjies while William Small-Smith is back in the centres. Other changes see Shaun Venter in at scrum-half, with Charles Marais and Rynier Bernardo coming into the pack.

Team news (Edinburgh): Richard Cockerill has had to tweak his side in the absence of a number of internationals, making seven changes to the team that beat the Ospreys last time out. The three changes in the backs see starts for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Chris Dean and debutant winger Duhan van der Merwe. Up front Anton Bresler, Lewis Carmichael and Viliame Mata all get the nod.

Talking points: Through eight rounds of action Edinburgh have the third best defensive record in the entire league, conceding an average of fewer than 17 points a game. By contrast the Cheetahs have scored an average of more than 40 points a game on home soil so something will have to give.

It’s something Cheetahs skipper Torsten van Jaarsveld is only too aware of.

He said: “We’ll be facing a strong team with great defence and we are looking forward to the challenge. We’ve been working hard last week and this week preparing for the match and we are really excited to run onto the field on Friday evening.”

Key Battle: Makazole Mapimpi v Duhan van der Merwe

Yes, they won’t be playing opposite one another, with both lining up on the left wing, but the impact of these two flyers will be fascinating. Guinness PRO14 fans have very quickly found out about Makazole Mapimpi, who has eight tries in as many games. Duhan van der Merwe, meanwhile, is getting his first competitive action for Edinburgh following a summer move from Montpellier. Back in his native South Africa, the 22-year-old will look to continue the scoring form that saw him grab three tries in four appearances last season.

Key Stat: Edinburgh enter this game on a five-match winning streak in all competitions, three in the Guinness PRO14 and two in the European Challenge Cup. Victory here would also be a fourth in a row on the road, something they have not managed in the same season since 2003/4.

Did you know? The Toyota Cheetahs have taken maximum points at home in every game this term except against Glasgow Warriors. Edinburgh will be looking to follow in the footsteps of their compatriots on Friday.

Toyota Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies; Luther Obi, William Small-Smith, Nico Lee, Makazole Mapimpi; Fred Zeilinga, Shaun Venter; Charles Marais, Torsten Van Jaarsveld, Johan Coetzee; Carl Wegner, Hugo Reniel; Paul Schoeman, Rynier Bernardo, Junior Pokomela

Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Ox Nche, Tom Botha, Jasper Wiese, Daniel Maartens, Tian Meyer, Tertius Kruger, Craig Barry

Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jason Tovey, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Michele Rizzo, Neil Cochrane, Murray McCallum; Anton Bresler, Fraser McKenzie; Lewis Carmichael, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata

Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Rory Sutherland, Kevin Bryce, Callum Hunter-Hill, Magnus Bradbury, Nathan Fowles, Jaco van der Walt, Junior Rasolea

TV: SuperSport 1: 7.15pm (SA), BBC ALBA: 5.25pm (UK)
Match officials – Referee: 
Quinton Immelman (SARU), AR1: Archie Sehlako (SARU). AR2: Jaco Kotze (SARU), TMO: Johan Greef (SARU).
Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Cheetahs power past Edinburgh in Bloemfontein

Daniel Barnes 24 Nov 2017

The Toyota Cheetahs overcame a Sam Hidalgo-Clyne inspired Edinburgh Rugby as they returned to winning ways in the Guinness PRO14.

Edinburgh scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne single-handedly racked up 13 points within six second-half minutes to hand the South Africans a test of their credentials but a five-try showing saw Franco Smith’s troops bounce back following their loss at Connacht in Round Eight with a bonus-point success.

On their first-ever visit to the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein in the Guinness PRO14, the visitors looked to turn the screw from the off, piling pressure on their opponents as they went out in search of a fourth straight victory in the championship.

The Cheetahs held firm early on and with 17 minutes on the clock, Jason Tovey missed the opportunity to kick Edinburgh into the lead, the fly-half skewing a penalty wide of the posts.

When the hosts earned their first penalty of the game six minutes later, Fred Zeilinga saw his effort ping back off the upright but the Cheetahs’ man would successfully dissect the posts shortly afterwards as he added the extras to the opening try of the game.

Clayton Blommetjies’ superb grubber kick swerved the ball around the corner for Craig Barry to blaze over, Zeilinga making it 7-0.

The Cheetahs continued their impressive showing by doubling their lead late in the first half, with superb expansive play allowing Rynier Bernardo to crash over, Zeilinga again converting.

Hidalgo-Clyne’s penalty got the visitors on the board early in the second half and the pendulum swung back in Edinburgh’s direction shortly afterwards as the 24-year-old burst into life from the breakdown, pipping over the line for an opportunist’s try, which he converted himself to make it 14-10.

Hidalgo-Clyne’s virtuoso display continued as he kicked Richard Cockerill’s men to within a point in the 50th minute while the Cheetahs’ Carl Wegner narrowly missed out on the chance to restore some breathing space for his team as he was denied inches from the try-line.

The hosts would achieve that feat on the hour-mark though, Junior Pokomela getting the finishing touch as the hosts teased the ball across the whitewash from a scrum, Zeilinga again adding the extras.

And the Cheetahs were home and hosed five minutes from the death when Makazole Mapimpi finished off a slick passing move, the winger crashing over in the corner – there was also still time for replacement Tian Meyer to dot down to put the cherry on the cake, Zeilinga converting for the fourth time.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138