The Cheetahs and Kings will be vying for local Pro14 bragging rights when they go head to head in Bloemfontein on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Both teams come into this game with confidence following their victories last weekend. These happened in contrasting fashion, with the Cheetahs lashing Zebre 61-28, while the Kings left it late to secure a dramatic 25-21 win against title contenders Edinburgh.
This derby promises to be a memorable one with no clear favourite apparent.
When the sides last met two weeks ago, the Cheetahs escaped with a 24-17 win, thanks to an 86th-minute try. Despite the scoreline, the Cheetahs bullied the Kings at the set pieces and that is something Deon Davids says his team has worked on ahead of this week’s match.
‘We learned a lot of lessons in that first match against the Cheetahs. Scrums are definitely an area that has been a priority for us.’
With both sides preferring an open, loose and unstructured game, the outcome may hinge on the forward exchanges.
The battle between Queenstown-born duo Rabz Maxwane and Yaw Penxe will also make for interesting viewing. Maxwane is the leading try-scorer in the competition, but Penxe has been impressive for the Kings in recent weeks and scored the winning try against Edinburgh last Saturday.
If the game is a closely-fought affair, a single moment of individual brilliance, which both teams are more than capable of, could decide the result.
Davids has surprised with the inclusion of Fijian centre Meli Rokoua. His presence in the Kings midfield could cause problems for Cheetahs centre pairing Benhard Janse van Rensburg and Nico Lee, who both weigh significantly less than Rokoua.
Cheetahs – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter (c), 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Niell Jordaan, 22 Rudy Paige, 23 Ernst Stapelberg.
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Ntabeni Dukisa, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Andries van Schalkwyk, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 De-Jay Terblanche, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Bader Pretorius, 23 Berton Klaasen.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images