PRO14 South African teams

by Greg Stone

Toyota Cheetahs

The Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, where they will play at home, has a capacity of 48,000 but don’t expect them to fill it unless they get to the finals. Also, the stadium is at an altitude of 1,400m, so expect visiting teams to suffer in the second half due to the thin air.

The Cheetahs are the better of the two teams and have a unique style. They don’t rely on a strong defence to win games unlike many of their competitors, rather focusing on exhilarating attack – because of this, their games will be high scoring affairs.

On their day they are unstoppable, unfortunately this has happened very rarely in Super Rugby. They’ll be hoping to change this situation in the Pro14 and if they do, expect them near the top towards the end of the season.

Players to watch out for:

Francois Venter, Centre: The captain of the Cheetahs may not be the flashiest but his immense work rate and consistency earned him a Springbok cap in 2016 and has been part of the national squad in 2017.

Rosko Specman, Wing: Some people are born to play rugby, Rosko is one of them. As a former Blitzbokke (South Africa’s sevens team) he is an explosive runner with a mean step on him. He may not be the biggest but he doesn’t shy away from contact.

Southern Kings

They play their home games at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, which has a capacity of 46,000. As with the Cheetahs don’t expect it to be anywhere near filled, rugby isn’t the main sport in Port Elizabeth.

Sadly, don’t be expecting big things from the Kings this year; 30 players have recently left the squad and Deon Davids, the coach, only signed his contract 2 weeks before the season started.

Players to watch out for:

Andisa Ntsila, No.8
With some calling for his inclusion in the Springboks, Ntsila is arguably the Kings’ best player. Named in the SA A squad this year, he’s a powerful defender, coming second in the Super Rugby tackle count

Yaw Penxe, Wing
A ridiculously quick winger with an incredible step. He made his debut this year in Super Rugby and impressed to go on to play for the Baby Boks at the junior world cup winning a bronze medal.


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