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Preview – PRO14

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The Cheetahs are still without a win in this year PRO14 and will be looking to get that first win against Edinburgh this weekend.

The Kings will be in action on Saturday when they face Benetton Rugby.

Here is the current log standings:

Edinburgh vs Cheetahs (Friday 20:35 live on SS1)

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has made four changes ahead of their PRO14 clash with the Cheetahs at Murrayfield.

As Edinburgh look to secure their fifth consecutive home victory in all competitions, three players are rotated into the backline. James Johnstone and Juan Pablo Socino are named in the midfield, while winger Darcy Graham makes his first start since featuring against Leinster in February.

Cockerill makes just one change to the pack as Rory Sutherland gets his first start of the season at loosehead prop.

After crossing the whitewash against Benetton a week ago, Blair Kinghorn is named at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe – a try-scorer in his last four appearances at BT Murrayfield – and Graham selected on the flanks.

Johnstone and summer recruit Socino get the nod in midfield, while Henry Pyrgos and Kiwi fly-half Simon Hickey continue at half-back.

Up front, hooker Stuart McInally skippers the side and packs down alongside WP Nel and Sutherland.

Experienced locks Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis are named in the boiler room, while Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson and Fijian international Bill Mata complete the back-row.

Meanwhile, Niell Jordaan will take to the field for the 50th time in a Cheetahs jersey when they face Edinburgh.

He replaces Gerhard Olivier at flanker, who has returned home for the birth of his first child, while Stephan Malan lines up alongside Jordaan at number eight.

Elsewhere in the pack, Jacques du Toit starts at hooker, with Walt Steenkamp and Justin Basson switching places at lock.

Behind the scrum, Louis Fouche is at full-back, with Ryno Eksteen dropping out of the squad due to a knee injury.

On the bench, Abongile Nonkontwana will make his PRO14 debut should he come on and Ali Mgijima also provides cover in the backline.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Bill Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Murray McCallum, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Chris Dean

Cheetahs: 15 Louis Fouche, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Niell Jordaan, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 OX Nche
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Ali Mgijima

Benetton Rugby v Southern Kings (Saturday 19:45 live on SS1)

Benetton head coach Kieran Crowley has made two changes to his backline and five to his pack for their clash with the Kings on Saturday.

Ignacio Brex and Monty Ioane replace Tommaso Iannone and Luca Sperandio at outside centre and left wing respectively for the PRO14 game.

Up front, there are starts at prop for Nicola Quaglio and Tiziano Pasquali while Alessandro Zanni and Federico Ruzza form a new lock pairing.

Finally Abraham Steyn replaces Marco Barbini on the flank as Benetton look to bounce back from last week’s narrow 31-30 loss at Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Kings head coach Deon Davids has made three changes to his starting XV that will be taking on Benetton.

While the backline remains unchanged from the one that faced Scarlets in Llanelli last week, the forward pack will see two injury-enforced changes and one rotational switch.

Loosehead prop Justin Forwood will get a start following the departure of Schalk Ferreira from the tour, after the experienced 34-year-old sustained a fractured nose in last weekend’s clash.

Ferreira returned home to Port Elizabeth earlier in the week, together with scrum-half Rudi van Rooyen and flanker Henry Brown, who had both sustained ankle injuries.

Brown’s injury opens up an opportunity for a first starting berth in over two years for CJ Velleman, who had been on the bench for the Kings’ previous two matches.

Velleman made his PRO14 debut in the Kings’ 38-28 victory over Glasgow Warriors a fortnight ago having nursed two serious knee injuries for the past couple of years.

In a rotational change in the second-row, Schalk Oelofse also returns to the starting XV where he will replace Bobby de Wee and partner up with JC Astle at lock. De Wee moves to the bench.

The teams:

Benetton Rugby: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Robert Barbieri (c), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Nicola Quaglio
Replacements: 16 Alberto De Marchi, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Irné Herbst, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Alberto Sgarbi

Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Martin Du Toit, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Justin Forwood
Replacements: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Lupumlo Mguca, 18 Rossouw De Klerk, 19 Bobby De Wee , 20 Marthinus Burger, 21 Ruan Van Rensburg, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Tristan Blewett

Other matches this weekend:

Friday

Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre

Ulster vs Connacht

Saturday

Dragons v Cardiff Blues

Leinster v Munster

Scarlets v Ospreys

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1 COMMENT

  1. R144 million taken away from development sides so that these two teams can be the whipping boys of a substandard league. Nice job if you can get it…

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