There will be no love lost at in Bloemfontein on Saturday when the Cheetahs and Southern Kings wrap up their 2018/19 PRO14 campaigns with an expected action-packed South African derby in which both sides will target a strong finish to the season.
The Cheetahs will eye back-to-back victories after defeating the Dragons 38-13 two weeks ago, but they will meet a Southern Kings team determined to topple the Free Staters for the first time in the competition.
The sides have crossed paths five times in the last two seasons, and the Cheetahs have emerged victorious each time, but the margins have been close in their last three outings with nine, seven and four points separating them on the scoreboard respectively.
This will certainly inspire the visitors who are only one log point ahead of the last-placed Dragons in Conference B going into the final pool round.
The rivalry between them aside, a few individuals will also look to remain at the top of the individual season records before the competition switches into the play-off stages next week.
The Cheetahs’ Tian Schoeman (118) and Southern Kings’ Masixole Banda (105) are currently in fourth and fifth place respectively on the top points accumulators table, while Bloemfontein speedster Rabz Maxwane is still the top try-scorer with 14 tries – four ahead of Dan Evans of Ospreys.
Maxwane also leads the most clean most breaks statistics with 34, while he is also in the race for the Dacia Ironman Award – which celebrates the player who has accumulated the most minutes on the field over the 21 pool rounds – with team-mates Schoeman, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, as well as the Southern Kings’ Yaw Penxe.
The match kicks off at 17:30 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport1.
Louis Fouche, Tian Meyer (captain), Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Dries Swanepoel, Rabz Maxwane, Tian Schoeman, Shaun Venter, Charles Marais, Joseph Dweba, Aranos Coetzee, Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez, Marnus van der Merwe, Abongile, Nonkontwana, Henco Venter. Replacements: Reinach Venter, Boan Venter, Erich de Jager, Sintu Manjezi, Jasper Wiese, Rudy Paige, Malcolm Jaer, Darron Adonis
Masixole Banda, Meli Rokoua, Harlon Klaasen, Sibusiso Sithole, Bjorn Basson, Courtney Winnaar, Stefan Ungerer, Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse, De-Jay Terblanche, Andries Van Schalkwyk, John-Charles Astle (captain), Stephan De Wit, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm. Replacements: Alandré Van Rooyen, Xandre Vos, Lupumlo Mguca, Schalk Oelofse, Jurie Van Vuuren, Rudi Van Rooyen, Bader Pretorius, Ntabeni Dukisa.
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (WRU), Paul Mente (SARU)
TMO: Johann Greeff (SARU)
Other Round 21 matches (SA kick-off times) –
16:00: Dragons vs Scarlets – Principality Stadium, Cardiff
18:00: Zebre vs Benetton – Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
18:15: Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys – Principality Stadium, Cardiff
18:15: Ulster vs Leinster – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
20:35: Glasgow Warriors vs Edinburgh – Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
20:35: Munster vs Connacht – Thomond Park, Limerick