The misfiring Cheetahs and Kings have hit desperation mode as they prepare to take on Edinburgh and Treviso on the road, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Edinburgh vs Cheetahs
Edinburgh have won two and lost three matches, while the Cheetahs have lost four and drew one. However, this cross-conference fixture could be just what the Cheetahs need to revive their campaign.
On face value, Edinburgh are favorites to win. But they are not in the best of form either and their wins have come against minnows Connacht and Treviso in rounds three and five respectively.
Incidentally, the Cheetahs have fared no better. But their floundering season has more to do with self-destruction and a lack of confidence and belief than anything else. In the last two weeks, the Cheetahs worked themselves into match-winning situations against Ulster and the Cardiff Blues, only to bomb out in the final quarter and lose on both occasions.
That said (and at risk of weekly repetition), the Cheetahs have the manpower to get one over this Edinburgh side. Wings William Small-Smith and Rabs Maxwane, so too loose forwards Junior Pokomela and Niell Jordaan and front rowers Joseph Dweba and Ox Nche, have been in superb touch.
A more cohesive display – particularly on defence – in support of aforementioned players’ contributions, should be enough to help the Cheetahs chalk up their maiden win of the year.
The Cheetahs boast a wonderfully talented, but horribly out of form squad whose confidence levels are well below zero. No amount of coaching can fix that. It’s the players that need to stand up and be accounted for. And the real Cheetahs definitely need to stand up.
Edinburgh – 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Bill Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Subs: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Murray McCallum, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Chris Dean.
Cheetahs – 15 Louis Fouché, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Sibhale Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Neil Jordaan, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Ali Mgijima.
Treviso vs Kings
While Treviso have enjoyed an above average start to their campaign, this will in all probability be an equal-strength contest.
Why, you might wonder, are the Kings bracketed in the same category as Treviso? A similar playing style for one, but mainly because they have recorded an almost identical set of results. From 10 games, these Conference B sides boast a combined total of three wins and seven defeats.
However, the 40-point hiding the Kings received against the Scarlets in Port Elizabeth was not a fair reflection of the hosts’ effort. As they have done in all their matches so far, the Kings fought gallantly despite their minnow status.
In saying that, results are what matter most and the Kings need to start converting good performances to wins or face the prospect of being left behind the rest in their conference.
Let’s hope the Kings’ Italian job against Treviso yields a positive result to get their season back on track.
Treviso – TBC
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klassen, 12 Berton Klassen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Justin Forwood
Subs: 16 Alandré van Rooyen, 17 Lupumlo Mguca, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Marthinus Burger, 21 Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Tristan Blewett