The Cheetahs and Kings will be looking to kick-start their campaigns in their first home games. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
CHEETAHS vs GLASGOW WARRIORS (Saturday, 7:30pm)
The Cheetahs have made a poor start to the Pro14, conceding a total of 13 tries and 84 points in heavy away defeats to Munster and the Ospreys. By contrast, Glasgow are one of only four unbeaten sides left in the competition.
The Warriors are therefore firm favourites to maintain their winning run against an already out-of-sorts Cheetahs outfit that was dealt a further blow with several injuries to first-choice players.
These sides play with contrasting styles, with the Cheetahs known for their physical confrontations, while Glasgow employ a more free-flowing attacking game. If there is no defensive improvement on the hosts’ side, they could well suffer their biggest defeat yet.
Two Glasgow players who will be out to deliver polished performances are Huw Jones and Oli Kebble. This is the ex-Stormers pair’s second return to South Africa since leaving in 2017.
Cheetahs – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Aidon Davis , 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Gunther van Rensburg, 19 Dennis Visser, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Marnus van der Merwe, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Ryno Eksteen.
Glasgow Warriors – 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Pete Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Oli Kebble.
Subs: 16 George Turner, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Matt Fagerson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 George Horne, 22 Nick Frisby, 23 Huw Jones.
KINGS vs ULSTER (Sunday, 2:15pm)
The Kings lost their opening two encounters, away from home, against Zebre and the Dragons by 16 and five points respectively.
Ulster are on a two-game winning streak, but have John Cooney to thank for those results after the scrumhalf dramatically knocked over two kicks in as many weeks to clinch victories for his side.
So far the Kings have looked good when they are in possession and attacking the opposition’s line. On Sunday, it will be a matter of staying disciplined in their own half to keep Cooney from ticking over the scoreboard and not allowing the opposition to score soon after conceding points.
This will also be an opportunity for locals to see influential flank Marcel Coetzee in action for Ulster after two injured-ravaged seasons. Coetzee has been in top form so far this year.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) September 10, 2018
Kings – 15 Michael Botha, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klassen, 12 Berton Klassen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Masixole Banda, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Martin Du Toit, 23 Ntabeni Dukisa.
Ulster – 15 Will Addison, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Andy Warwick.
Subs: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Matthew Rea, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Amgus Curtis, 23 Angus Kernohan.
Edinburgh will host Connacht at Murrayfield, Munster will welcome a weakened Ospreys side, Leinster will be looking to return to winning ways when they face the Dragons, the undefeated Treviso travel to the Scarlets and the Cardiff Blues will be gunning for their first win against conference rivals Zebre.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images