The Cheetahs and Kings will look to build on last week’s encouraging performance’s when they face the Cardiff Blues and Scarlets respectively, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
CARDIFF BLUES vs CHEETAHS, Friday, 8:35pm
This bottom-of-the-conference clash promises fireworks.
The Cheetahs are coming off a 39-39 draw against Ulster at home and there have been steady signs of improvement. More will be learned of their progress when they come up against the Blues at the Arms Park.
Currently, five log points separate the sides after the Blues upset Munster to register their maiden win of the season. The Cheetahs will know they are in a must-win scenario, not only to keep in touch with the Blues on the log but also to boost their diminishing playoff aspirations.
In team news, there is one change to the Cheetahs XV, with Ryno Eksteen coming in to replace the injured Malcolm Jaer. It will be the 23-year-old’s first start and it should be interesting to see how he fares against Wales international Matthew Morgan.
All in all, this should be an equally-contested affair between two
Cardiff Blues – 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Olly Robinson, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 George Earle, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Gill.
Subs: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Garyn Smith.
Cheetahs – 15 Ryno Eksteen, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Sibhale Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Jean-Pierre Du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Stephan Malan, 21 Daniel Maartens, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Louis Fouché.
SCARLETS vs KINGS, Saturday, 7:30pm
This clash has been made all the more interesting by the visitors’ superb victory over the Glasgow Warriors last week and the Scarlets’ shock defeat to Connacht.
The Scarlets are still firm favourites to overcome the Kings’ challenge. Swinging matters further in favour of the Llanelli-based region is the fact that they have nine Test players in their match-day squad, including former Springbok duo Werner Kruger and Uzair Cassiem. They also have home-ground advantage.
The odds are stacked against the Kings, but there is nothing to suggest they’ll just roll over and make things easy for the hosts.
Coach Deon Davids’ men are exhibiting determination that was lacking last season and last week’s positive result could be the catalyst for a Kings’ revival.
Scarlets – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Paul Asquith, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Ed Kennedy, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Subs: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Phil Price, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Tom Price, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Steff Evans.
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klassen, 12 Berton Klassen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Henry Brown, 5 JC Astle, 4 Bobby de Wee, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Justin Forwood, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Tristan Blewett.
Treviso will fancy their chances against the out-of-sorts Edinburgh, Zebre will be up against it when they host the Ospreys, Connacht and Leinster will square off at the Sportsground, the Glasgow Warriors are favoured to collect maximum log points against the Dragons, and Munster welcome Irish rivals Ulster for the game of the weekend.
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