Kings and Cheetahs take their bow in Super Rugby
Friday will be the final time we see the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs in Super Rugby and what a show they’ve put on this season.
The Lions and the Sharks are preparing themselves for tough New Zealand challenges while the Stormers need the Bulls to give a solid workout ahead of their playoff.
Southern Kings v Cheetahs – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – 7pm
Statistics may have a bikini effect but once those of the Kings and the Cheetahs are compared‚ the Port Elizabeth franchise have been better than the battered Bloemfontein bunch.
The Kings know all too well about the position the Cheetahs are in. They were the bread and butter of the New Zealand sides and they had to console themselves with wins against the Jaguares and the Sunwolves.
The Kings haven’t been as sharp at home but the wins against the Rebels and the Sharks after their victory in Sydney was proof of their rising stock.
They go into this game on the back of 31-30 wins against the Bulls and the Jaguares on the road. Both these sides have beaten the Cheetahs.
Franco Smith’s side will have their work cut out for them in terms of containing this effervescent coastal side who will want to close their chapter on a high.
Kings – 15 Malcolm Jaer‚ 14 Wandile Mjekevu‚ 13 Berton Klaasen‚ 12 Luzuko Vulindlu‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Lionel Cronjé (c)‚ 9 Louis Schreuder‚ 8 Andisa Ntsila‚ 7 Tyler Paul‚ 6 Chris Cloete‚ 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda‚ 3 Ross Geldenhuys‚ 2 Michael Willemse‚ 1 Mzamo Majola.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout‚ 17 Schalk Ferreira‚ 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen‚ 19 Irne Herbst/Mzwanele Zito‚ 20 Thembelani Bholi‚ 21 Rudi van Rooyen‚ 22 Masixole Banda‚ 23 Waylon Murray/Yaw Penxe.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies‚ 14 William Small-Smith‚ 13 Francois Venter (c)‚ 12 Clinton Swart‚ 11 Raymond Rhule‚ 10 Fred Zeilinga‚ 9 Tian Meyer‚ 8 Niell Jordaan‚ 7 Oupa Mohoje‚ 6 Uzair Cassiem‚ 5 Reniel Hugo‚ 4 Carl Wegner‚ 3 Johan Coetzee‚ 2 Joseph Dweba‚ 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Reinach Venter‚ 17 Charles Marais‚ 18 Tom Botha‚ 19 Armandt Koster‚ 20 Junior Pokomela‚ 21 Chris Dry‚ 22 Ruan van Rensburg‚ 23 Niel Marais.
Bulls v Stormers – Loftus Versfeld - 3pm
There’s a construction site at the Northern End of the Eastern Sports Ground and that’s exactly where the Bulls are at the moment.
Unlike that development‚ which is coming together‚ the Bulls are nowhere near completion and they’re going to finish below the Kings and outside of the playoff zone for a second consecutive season.
They still have the prospect of being glorified warm-up opponents for their bitter Western Cape rivals‚ who made better use of their home matches against their New Zealand counterparts to ensure they will be living to fight another day.
The Stormers‚ themselves‚ are far from a finished product but they have been better than the Bulls since the start of the season.
Whether they are ready for another New Zealand challenge after last year’s embarrassing manhandling against the Chiefs at home is at question.
Bulls –15 Warrick Gelant‚ 14 Travis Ismaiel‚ 13 Jesse Kriel‚ 12 Jan Serfontein‚ 11 Duncan Mathews‚ 10 Tian Schoeman‚ 9 Rudy Paige‚ 8 Nick de Jager‚ 7 Jannes Kirsten‚ 6 Shaun Adendorff‚ 5 RG Snyman‚ 4 Jason Jenkins‚ 3 Conraad van Vuuren‚ 2 Adriaan Strauss (c)‚ 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie‚ 17 Trevor Nyakane‚ 18 John-Roy Jenkinson‚ 19 Ruben van Heerden‚ 20 Ruan Steenkamp‚ 21 Piet Van Zyl‚ 22 Tony Jantjies‚ 23 Burger Odendaal.
Stormers – 15 Dillyn Leyds‚ 14 Cheslin Kolbe‚ 13 EW Viljoen‚ 12 Damian de Allende‚ 11 Seabelo Senatla‚ 10 Damian Willemse‚ 9 Jano Vermaak‚ 8 Nizaam Carr‚ 7 Rynhardt Elstadt‚ 6 Siya Kolisi (c)‚ 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ 4 Eben Etzebeth‚ 3 Frans Malherbe‚ 2 Bongi Mbonambi‚ 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Ramone Samuels‚ 17 Steven Kitshoff‚ 18 Wilco Louw‚ 19 Chris van Zyl‚ 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 21 Justin Phillips‚ 22 Juan de Jongh‚ 23 Dan Kriel.
Sharks v Lions – King's Park – 5.15pm
Sharks coach Robert du Preez is expecting his team to make amends for their 34-29 loss on April Fool’s Day while his outgoing Lions counterpart‚ Johan Ackermann‚ is wary of how the Sharks will approach this game.
By the time these sides meet‚ they will know about their quarterfinal opponents and destinations.
The Sharks know they have to make the Trans-Indian Ocean trip to either Wellington or Christchurch while the Lions will get their first taste of New Zealand teams after gorging themselves on Australian and South African delicacies.
For these sides‚ momentum is going to be everything and it is the derby to close off all derbies.
Sharks – 15 Lwazi Mvovo‚ 14 Kobus van Wyk‚ 13 Lukhanyo Am‚ 12 André Esterhuizen‚ 11 Sbusiso Nkosi‚ 10 Garth April‚ 9 Cobus Reinach‚ 8 Daniel du Preez‚ 7 Jean-Luc du Preez‚ 6 Philip van der Walt (c)‚ 5 Stephan Lewies‚ 4 Etienne Oosthuizen‚ 3 Coenie Oosthuizen‚ 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle‚ 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee‚ 17 Juan Schoeman‚ 18 Lourens Adriaanse‚ 19 Jean Droste‚ 20 Tera Mtembu‚ 21 Michael Claassens‚ 22 Curwin Bosch‚ 23 Jeremy Ward.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee‚ 14 Ruan Combrinck‚ 13 Lionel Mapoe‚ 12 Harold Vorster‚ 11 Courtnall Skosan‚ 10 Elton Jantjies‚ 9 Ross Cronjé‚ 8 Ruan Ackermann‚ 7 Kwagga Smith‚ 6 Jaco Kriel‚ 5 Franco Mostert‚ 4 Andries Ferreira‚ 3 Ruan Dreyer‚ 2 Malcolm Marx‚ 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe‚ 17 Corné Fourie‚ 18 Johannes Jonker‚ 19 Lourens Erasmus‚ 20 Cyle Brink‚ 21 Faf de Klerk‚ 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ 23 Sylvian Mahuza.