The Toyota Cheetahs will have the extra motivation of making Joseph Dweba’s 50th cap a memorable one on Saturday when they face the Scarlets in Wales in their second Guinness PRO14 tour match, while the Isuzu Southern Kings will attempt to register their first win of the season when they meet the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland on Friday.
The Free Staters, who suffered a heart-breaking 24-22 defeat against Connacht last week, will look to return to their winning ways after a blazing start to their campaign in which they recorded three back-to-back wins, but with the Scarlets also boasting three wins in their four matches, a big match-up is expected at the Scotstoun Stadium.
Dweba has been a stand-out performer for the men from Bloemfontein, scoring five tries so far this season, while the hard-working hooker also proved to be a key player in the Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ Currie Cup victory earlier this year, and their coach, Hawies Fourie, believes he can inspire the team further this weekend.
“It is a special achievement for any player; I’m really glad for Joseph,” said Fourie.
“He has been putting in the hard yards and I hope he will repeat that success this weekend and show the way for the team. Joseph is an inspiration for many of the players in the team and we really hope he has another great game.”
Zooming in on the clash against the Scarlets, Fourie said he would like an improved performance from his charges after they went down in injury time last weekend. They will be without Dries Swanepoel (centre) following his three-week suspension for a dangerous clean-out at a ruck.
“We will have to improve in a few different areas,” said Fourie.
“We conceded too many penalties against Connacht in the first half and we didn’t play particularly well in the half. We only had 32 percent possession and made a lot of handling errors – 15 in the entire game – and we will have to improve on that.
“We are a ball-in-hand team, and we want to score tries and play at a high pace. If we want to do that effectively we need to stop making so many mistakes. We conceded 13 penalties as well, so we gave the ball away against Connacht 28 times.”
Fourie expected a tough challenge from the hosts, and said: “They also play at a high tempo, and they attack from broken play and play off turnovers. They also have a really different kicking game.
“They kick a lot of grubbers and chips behind the opposition and they score a lot of tries from that, so we will have to be wary of their kicking game. They come up at a very fast pace too, which we will have to deal with, but we have a few plans on how to counter that.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings, meanwhile, will be fielding a young team against the Glasgow Warriors, with former Junior Springbok centre JT Jackson taking over at flyhalf following an injury to kingpin Demetri Catrakilis.
Robbie Kempson has given a number of the younger players a start and believes the exuberance will serve the team well against the 2018/19 finalists.
Former Ireland Woman’s international, Joy Neville – who participated in the 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups and was a member of the Ireland team in 2013 that won their first Six Nations, Grand Slam and Triple Crown titles – will officiate the match.
“Glasgow lost against the Dragons last week, which never helps the team arriving at their home turf,” said Kempson.
“They also have the option of selecting a few of their Scottish internationals, who have arrived back from Rugby World Cup duty. So we are expecting another big battle.
“We expect them to make a few changes among the forwards as they need the win. In terms of our selection, we have a fairly young backline, but we are confident that they will produce the goods.”
Kempson added: “We will have an exciting young team to be fair, and if we are ever going to grow, we can’t expect to do the same thing with the same personnel and expect the same result.
“It’s a great opportunity for the youngsters to take their chance, and make the step up.”
Glasgow Warriors v Isuzu Southern Kings
SA time: 21h35
Date: Friday, 1 November
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Referee: Joy Neville
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen and John Carvill
TMO: Leo Colgan
Scarlets v Toyota Cheetahs
SA time: 17h00
Date: Saturday, 2 November
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Referee: Mike Adamson
Assistant Referees: David Sutherland and Simon Rees
TMO: Neil Patterson