The Toyota Cheetahs will look to make it three-out-of-three in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday when they host Zebre Rugby Club in Bloemfontein in a match in which flyer Rabz Maxwane will look to stretch his lead as the top try scorer in the competition.
The clash between the Toyota Cheetahs and Zebre Rugby Club will mark their second match in three rounds. With the hosts boasting a flawless record against the Italians – with their last victory being a 27-12 win in Parma three weeks ago – they will enter the match with confidence.
Maxwane is expected to be a key figure for the hosts after scoring nine tries in 11 appearances this season, which has placed him at the top of the try-scorer’s list by two tries.
A victory for the Toyota Cheetahs will not only be their fifth in six matches, but it will also ensure that they maintain their favourable win record against the Italian sides, which currently stands at played five, won four. The Free Staters will have be careful to not write off Zebre, who are desperate to bounce back from a six-match losing run.
The Toyota Cheetahs’ superior attacking form has seen them score 18 more tries than the Italians despite playing one less match this season, which they will look to build on at the Toyota Stadium. However, they will enter the match knowing that the visitors have conceded four fewer tries.
The Isuzu Southern Kings, meanwhile, will have all the motivation they need to register a victory against Edinburgh in Port Elizabeth on Saturday after a heart-breaking injury-time defeat against the Toyota Cheetahs last week and a 38-0 defeat against the Scottish side in their previous outing.
The Isuzu Southern Kings will not only look to break Edinburgh’s three-match winning run this weekend at the Nelson Mandela University, but they will also be targeting their second victory this season.
With four defeats by seven points or less in their last five matches, coach Deon Davids’ charges will be determined to push through for a morale-boosting victory, especially with only nine pool matches left.
Edinburgh, however, will have their sights set on remaining in the top two in their conference – with Benetton, the Scarlets and Ulster hot on their heels – and keeping their unbeaten run intact against the Isuzu Southern Kings in the competition, which should set the scene for an exciting clash.
Interestingly, the teams have been closely matched in terms of their attack this season, with the men from Port Elizabeth scoring only three fewer tries than the Scots, but the Isuzu Southern Kings’ defence has let them down.
Guinness PRO 14 Round 14 fixtures (Saturday, 26 January):
Toyota Cheetahs v Zebre Rugby Club
SA time: 15h00
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse and Paul Mente
TMO: Johan Greeff
Isuzu Southern Kings v Edinburgh
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry and Ruhan Meiring
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Other round 14 matches (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 25 January
21h35 – Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
21h35 – Leinster v Scarlets, RDS Arena, Dublin
21h35 – Uslter v Benneton, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
Saturday, 26 January
17h00 – Dragons v Munster, Rodney Parade, Newport
19h15 – Cardiff Blues v Connacht, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff