Pro14: Round 5 South African Matches Preview

Rugby Players enter a scrum

Shaun Goosen takes a closer look at the two PRO14 fixtures that involve the Kings and Cheetahs this weekend.

Cardiff Blues v Toyota Cheetahs
28 September 20h35
BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park

To Win (80 minutes)
Cardiff 1/25
Draw 60/1
Cheetahs 8/1

After conceding a heart-breaking late try to draw with Ulster in Bloemfontein, Franco Smith’s Toyota Cheetahs will be more determined than ever to claim a first win in the Guinness Pro14 this season.

In what was a block-busting game of rugby on all fronts, the Cheetahs were simply unable to live with the intensity and pace of Ulster’s offensive line speed. It was a familiar story to which fans of the Free State franchise have become accustomed, with their lack of quality without ball in hand enabling Ulster to come roaring back time and again.

That said, the Cheetahs’ attack was certainly a sight to behold. Led by the searing Sibhale Maxwane on the left wing, the men in orange cut Ulster’s defence to ribbons when given enough room. They should have made the most of those moments of attacking splendour.

Ahead of their second overseas tour of the campaign, though, last year’s quarter finalists need to up the ante on D. Cardiff, whom they face this weekend, may be a rather inconsistent bunch but do have the ability to put in a big shift on occasion, look no further than their 37-13 drubbing of Munster this past Friday.

With clear skies expected, it’s up to the Cheetahs to make good on the promise they showed in spits and spurts against Ulster. They must hang onto possession and shore up their defensive structures.

Verdict: Cheetahs 8/1
The Blues may be playing in front of the Cardiff Arms Park faithful, but I’m backing the Cheetahs to spring a surprise on last season’s Challenge Cup winners with a win by seven or more.

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Scarlets v Southern Kings
29 September 19h30
Parc y Scarlets

To Win (80 mins) 
Scarlets 1/80
Draw 90/1
Kings 22/1

*Please note forecast odds

Following their phenomenal 38-28 victory over the Glasgow Warriors in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the Southern Kings will look to maintain the momentum heading into this weekend’s clash with the Scarlets in Llanelli.

After leading 24-0 at the interval, the Kings went on to claim a comprehensive win over the previously unbeaten Warriors. Post-match, coach Deon Davids went on the emphasize just how valuable that confidence-booster will be for his side in the short and long term.

“We just built momentum; there was a lot of energy and focus. I was very happy with the way we used the ball and stuck to our structures. That created a lot of opportunities.

“The guys scored some excellent tries. If we can keep focusing on the lessons of today’s [Saturday’s] game and build on that, we can still put up some good performances in our remaining fixtures.”

Much like the Warriors, the Scarlets consider themselves title-contenders once again this season. Ahead of the return leg in PE on 26 October, it’s very important the Kings put in another competitive showing against one of the tournament’s big dogs.

That said, the Kings are yet to win an away fixture in the Pro14 and the odds are very much against them achieving one come Saturday.

With the likes of CJ Velleman back from injury, however, the Kings may be able to disrupt their opponents at the breakdown and gain some kind of upper hand in the contest. Whether they can make the most of their opportunities in the same manner as they did against Glasgow, though, is another matter entirely.

Verdict: Scarlets 1/80
Expect the Port Elizabeth-based franchise to put in another brave showing but to fall short by 10-points or more.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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