Cheetahs aim for hat-trick against Kings
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cheetahs will be looking for their this win of the season over the Southern Kings, when the two teams meet in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs will also aim for successive victories – after defeating the Dragons 38-13 two weeks ago.
“The Southern Kings always offers a challenge and we are prepared for them,” Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer said.
“Our players are excited to play in front of our home crowd and would like to treat them to an exciting game of running rugby.
“Our last two home games were frustrating in the sense that we weren’t rewarded with the effort put in on the field. We hope that things will work in our favour on Saturday.”
The sides have crossed paths five times in the last two seasons, and the Cheetahs have emerged victorious each time.
However, the margins have been close in their last three outings – with nine, seven and four points separating them on the scoreboard respectively.
The Cheetahs’ Tian Schoeman (118) and Southern Kings’ Masixole Banda (105) are currently in fourth and fifth place respectively on the points scorers’ table, while Bloemfontein speedster Rabz Maxwane is still the top try-scorer with 14 tries – four ahead of Dan Evans of Ospreys.
Maxwane also leads the most clean most breaks statistics with 34, while he is also in the race for the Ironman Award – which celebrates the player who has accumulated the most minutes on the field over the 21 pool rounds – with teammates Schoeman, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, as well as the Southern Kings’ Yaw Penxe.
Coach Franco Smith has announced his team for the clash with minor changes.
Aranos Coetzee will be starting at tighthead prop.
Marnus van der Merwe replaces the injured Gerhard Olivier on the left flank.
Louis Fouche and Malcolm Jaer switch places, with Fouche in the starting line-up.
Boan Venter and Erich de Jager are new to the bench.
The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury: Teboho Mohoje (knee), Aidon Davis (broken leg), Junior Pokomela (back), Schalk van der Merwe (groin), Justin Basson (knee), William Small-Smith (knee), Gerhard Oliver (knee), Ali Mgijima (Achilles), Luan de Bruin (neck), Jacques du Toit (back).
Players on suspension: Nico Lee, Ox Nche.
Cheetahs: 15 Louis Fouche, 14 Tian Meyer (captain), 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Marnus van der Merwe, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Malcolm Jaer, 23 Darron Adonis.
Date: Saturday, April 27
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.30 (15.30 GMT)
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (Wales), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Greeff (South Africa)