The Toyota Cheetahs will be facing Scarlets on Sunday afternoon in a crucial Guinness PRO14 match at the Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli in Wales. The action kicks off at 13:00 (SA time 15:00) with live broadcast on SuperSport 1, Premier Sports, and eir Sport.
In stark contrast to the Toyota Cheetahs, who suffered their first defeat after a four-match winning run last week, the Scarlets have battled to find their rhythm, which has seen them register only one victory in their last six matches. But the Welshmen will draw inspiration from the fact that they have suffered only one defeat at home this season.
The sides will enter the match equal on log points (36) with the Scarlets boasting seven victories to the Toyota Cheetahs’ six, but while the visitors have been more effective on attack with 57 tries to the home side’s 45, the Scarlets will rely on their solid defence to keep the visitors at bay after conceding 18 fewer tries in their 15 matches.
With a number of top performers in the competition in the Toyota Cheetahs’ team, including try-scoring machine Rabz Maxwane (most tries in the competition) and Junior Pokomela (most lineout steals), the visitors have the manpower to return to their winning ways.
Coach Franco Smith said: “We expect a tough match on Sunday. Statistics show that the Scarlets score most of their points in the second half and we expect a big finish from them. It will be a hard fight for 80 minutes.”
“It is important for us to follow up with a good performance this week. We did well last week and fell short against a very good team. This week we’ll have to go a step further and be more clinical in the execution of our plans, but I feel that we took a lot of confidence from our performance against Connacht.
“The players are more used to the circumstances and conditions in Europe and we are looking forward to improve on our performance.”
“Wayne Pivac is a very experienced coach, who will be coaching the national team next year. Even without some of their players, they are well prepared and an organised group. We anticipate a huge onslaught from them.”
Coach Franco Smith has announced his team for the clash with only two changes:
· Jasper Wiese and Walt Steenkamp switch places with Steenkamp in the starting line-up.
· Dries Swanepoel and Benhard Janse van Rensburg will be the centre pair.
The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury:
Oupa Mohoje (knee), Jamba Ulenga (neck), Joseph Dweba (hamstring), Malcolm Jaer (knee), Aidon Davis (broken leg).
Scarlets vs Toyota Cheetahs
Parc y Scarltes , Llanelli, Wales
1. Ox Nche (36)
2. Marnus van der Merwe (3)
3. Aranos Coetzee (37)
4. Walt Steenkamp (14)
5. JP du Preez (14)
6. Abongile Nonkontwana (10)
7. Junior Pokomela (26)
8. Gerhard Olivier (15)
9. Shaun Venter (30)(C)
10. Tian Schoeman (15)
11. Rabz Maxwane (13)
12. Dries Swanepoel (2)
13. Benhard Janse van Rensburg (14)
14. William Small-Smith (30)
15. Louis Fouche (9)
16. Jacques du Toit (24)
17. Reinach Venter (7)
18. Luan de Bruin (7)
19. Sintu Manjezi (8)
20. Jasper Wiese (6)
21. Henco Venter (18)
22. Rudy Paige (5)
23. Tian Meyer (26)
· Guinness PRO14 caps indicated next the player’s name.
The referee for the match is John Lacey (IRFU, 77th competition game). He will be assisted by Adam Jones (WRU) and Chris Busby (IRFU). The TMO is John Mason (WRU).