There will be all-out action in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend as the Toyota Cheetahs set their sights on back-to-back victories, while the Isuzu Southern Kings target a breakthrough win after a few disappointing rounds in what marks their final matches in 2018.
The Toyota Cheetahs host Connacht in Bloemfontein on Saturday at 17h00 and the Isuzu Southern Kings take on Benetton in Port Elizabeth at 19h15. These matches will be the final round of the year for the two SA teams, with a four-week festive-season break lined up in December.
At the Toyota Stadium, the Free Staters will attempt to register their third victory in four rounds when they host Connacht on Saturday, following morale-boosting wins against Benetton (last week) and the Cardiff Blues. The Irishmen come off successive victories against the Isuzu Southern Kings and Dragons, which means the clash could result in a thrilling contest.
The teams have met only twice before and both matches were closely-fought, with the Toyota Cheetahs winning their home match 26-25 last season, while Connacht registered a narrow 23-15 victory in Galway.
Interestingly, the Toyota Cheetahs have been more effective on attack this season with 28 tries scored to Connacht’s 25, but they have leaked almost double the number of tries.
In Port Elizabeth, the Isuzu Southern Kings will be hunting their first victory against Benetton and Italian opposition since joining the Guinness PRO14 last season when the teams meet at Nelson Mandela University.
The sides have crossed paths three times, and Benetton emerged victorious each time, with their last victory against the Isuzu Southern Kings being a 28-5 win in Treviso in October. The last time they met in Port Elizabeth, however, Benetton won by only one point.
The teams have been closely matched on attack this season with the Isuzu Southern Kings scoring 25 tries and the Italians 24, but coach Deon Davids’ men have conceded 87 more points in their nine matches.
With four bonus points earned for tries and three for losing by seven points or less, however, the Isuzu Southern Kings could spark a change of fortunes by rounding off their try-scoring chances and reducing their error rate and penalties conceded at crucial times.
Guinness PRO 14 Round 10 fixtures (Saturday, 1 December):
Toyota Cheetahs v Connacht
SA time: 17h00
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (WRU) and Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greeff
Isuzu Southern Kings v Benetton
SA time: 19h15
Venue: Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (IRFU) and Ruhan Meiring
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Other Round 10 matches (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 30 November:
21h35: Munster v Edinburgh – Irish Independent Park, Cork
21h35: Ospreys v Zebre – Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Saturday, 1 December:
17h00: Ulster v Cardiff Blues – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
19h15: Dragons v Leinster – Rodney Parade, Newport
19h15: Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets – Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow