The Cheetahs will be confident of claiming another comfortable win over the Kings in Saturday’s Pro14 clash in Bloemfontein, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
These two teams went head-to-head in Port Elizabeth last weekend, and as expected, it was an entertaining and high-scoring match.
However, it was also disappointingly one-sided as the Cheetahs ran into a 24-7 lead at half-time, while eventually doubling their try tally to six as they completed a comprehensive 45-21 victory.
For the Kings, it was a 12th successive defeat in what has been a Pro14 baptism of fire, and it increasingly appears that the Port Elizabeth-based team’s resistance and resolve is beginning to wane.
To make matters worse for the Kings, Oliver Zono is the latest player to be ruled out due to injury, with the youngster joining fellow flyhalf Kurt Coleman on the sidelines.
The Kings have been boosted by the return of influential flanker Andisa Ntsila, though, while captain Michael Willemse is back in the starting lineup.
The Cheetahs have a couple of injury worries of their own as captain Francois Venter remains unavailable, while Torsten van Jaarsveld has been ruled out due to a knee niggle.
Nevertheless, the Cheetahs proved last weekend that they have more than enough quality in reserve, with Nico Lee slotting seamlessly into the outside berth and recording a hat-trick of tries.
The Kings will be desperate to deliver a better account of themselves this Saturday, but with the Cheetahs placing a premium on improving their discipline, they should be expected to clinch another bonus-point win.
Such a result would see the Cheetahs draw to within three points of second-placed Munster in Conference A, although the Glasgow Warriors remain well clear at the summit with a 15-point buffer.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Niel Marais, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 AJ Coertzen.
Kings – 15 Ntabeni Dukisa, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Burger Martinus, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Berton Klaasen.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images