The Cheetahs and Kings are both looking to end three-match losing streaks, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
CHEETAHS vs ULSTER, Friday, 7:15pm
Franco Smith’s men have conceded 136 points and 20 tries across three defeats. No other side in the competition has leaked more than 95 points or 14 tries.
Smith has bemoaned the Cheetahs’ inability to see out games in the last quarter.
‘If you simply look at the scoreline, you will be a bit disappointed,’ he told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘The results have not really reflected what happened in the game. The sad thing is that in the last 15 minutes of each game we gave away three tries through unforced errors and turnovers in our own 22. That is when the team becomes a little desperate not to disappoint and they start throwing the ball around and playing desperate rugby.’
Smith is correct in demanding more from his side. If the Cheetahs are to break that wretched losing streak in round four, they’ll require an 80-minute effort against a confident Ulster outfit that has won two of their three games in the last minute of the match.
The Cheetahs have made just two changes to their starting lineup, with Ox Nche starting at loosehead prop and Charles Marais rotating to the bench. It’s the injury-enforced absence of Aidon Davis (laceration) that will be felt. The No 8 has been the only regular starter in the loose trio where the flanks have been changed every other week. Niell Jordaan has been named as his replacement for this game.
Meanwhile, Ulster have shifted Marcell Coetzee from blindside flank to No 8 for this clash. He is joined in the starting XV by compatriots Wiehahn Herbst and Rob Herring, who will captain the visiting team. Utility forward Jean Deysel will provide cover off the bench.
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 Niell Jordaan , 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Gunther van Rensburg, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Stephan Malan, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Ryno Eksteen.
Ulster – 15 Will Addison, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Angus Kernohan, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Dave Shanahan, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Matt Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Subs: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 Jonny Stewart, 22 Angus Curtis, 23 Darren Cave.
KINGS vs GLASGOW WARRIORS, Saturday, 3pm
While the Kings have suffered a similar fate to the Cheetahs in terms of results, they have at least fought valiantly until the end.
Sadly, the Eastern Cape franchise simply does not have the depth in quality to beat the top European sides.
The Kings may be competitive during the early stages of Saturday’s match, but expect the Warriors to hit their stride as the game wears on and to collect maximum log points to stay well clear of Munster at the top of the Conference A standings.
There are five changes to the Kings team, with Martin du Toit, Rudi van Rooyen, Ruaan Lerm, Henry Brown and Bobby de Wee all coming into the side. The return of flank CJ Velleman, from the bench, will be a big boost for the hosts.
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 Martin Dreyer, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, Michael Botha.
Glasgow Warriors – 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nick Grigg, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Pete Horne, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Greg Petersen, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Ali Price, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Robbie Nairn.
Coach Johann van Graan’s Munster can be expected to collect maximum log points against the struggling Cardiff Blues, the Scarlets travel to Connacht, the Dragons host Zebre, Leinster square off against Edinburgh at RDS Arena and the Ospreys welcome the high-flying Treviso to the Liberty Stadium.