PRO14

Changes for Cheetahs as PRO14 playoff race intensifies

2019-02-15 14:12
Franco Smith
Franco Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Cheetahs have named their side for Saturday's PRO14 clash against Connacht in Galway.

The action kicks off at 19:30 (SA time).

The Cheetahs will enter the match with confidence after a string of victories has pushed them into contention for reaching the knock-out stages for a second successive season.

The fact that they have defeated Connacht before and went down against them by a narrow four points in their last outing will also fuel their determination to win.

Connacht, in turn, will be desperate for a change of fortunes after back-to-back defeats, especially with every result set to count in the next few weeks.

Franco Smith’s charges have been superior on attack this season with 366 points scored to Connacht’s 309, but the hosts will look to build on their effective defence to shut them out.

The home side, however, are expected to keep a close eye on Junior Pokomela and Rabz Maxwane, in particular, who top the lineout steals and clean breaks statistics in the competition.

Smith is excited to have new players in the squad.

"There are a couple of new players on tour, like Henco Venter, Jacques du Toit and Marnus van der Merwe and others who will bring new energy and new creativity to the team," he said.

"We need to learn how to be more focused, specially thinking of the last three tries we stood of against the Southern Kings. We would like to come back from tour with a more experience and apply what we’ve learned so far.

"We have a good team. Players in the team work hard, especially with the new players in the squad. After the last four matches, the hunger is back, the urgency to be the best in their positions - the competitiveness is back and intensity at training is very high."

Marnus van der Merwe will be playing his first game in the starting line-up, with Reinach Venter providing cover on the bench.

Jasper Wiese and JP du Preez, meanwhile, form the lock combination with Sintu Manjezi and Walt Steenkamp will be providing cover on the bench.

Dries Swanepoel will be replacing the injured Benhard Janse van Rensburg in midfield and will be starting his first game for the Cheetahs while Louis Fouche will be replacing the injured Malcolm Jaer at fullback.

Ox Nche, meanwhile, returns to action after sustaining a last minute injury before the match against the Southern Kings.

Teams:

Connacht

15 Darragh Leader, 14 Cian Kelleher, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Stephen Fitzgerald, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 James Cannon, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley

Substitutes: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy,
19 Cillian Gallagher, 20 Paul Boyle, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Kyle Godwin

Cheetahs

15 Louis Fouche, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabs Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter (captain), 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Abongile Nonkontwana, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Jasper Wiese, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Charles Marais

Substitutes: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Walt Steenkamp, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Rudy Paige

Read more on:    cheetahs  |  pro14  |  bloemfontein  |  rugby

 

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