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Toyota Cheetah team to face Connacht Rugby

Posted on Thursday, 15 Feb 2019

Toyota Cheetah team to face Connacht Rugby


The Toyota Cheetahs are ready to take on Connacht on Saturday, 16 February in Galway.  The action kicks off at 19:30 (SA time) with live broadcast on SuperSport, Free Sports, TG4 and eir Sport.


The Toyota Cheetahs will enter the match with confidence after a string of victories pushed them into contention for reaching the knock-out stages for a second successive season.  The fact that they have defeated Connacht before and went down against them by a narrow four points in their last outing will also fuel their determination to win.


Connacht, in turn, will be desperate for a change of fortunes after back-to-back defeats, especially with every result set to count in the next few weeks.


Franco Smith’s charges have been superior on attack this season with 366 points scored to Connacht’s 309, but the hosts will look to build on their effective defence to shut them out. 


The home side, however, are expected to keep a close eye on Junior Pokomela and Rabz Maxwane, in particular, who top the lineout steals and clean breaks statistics in the competition.


Coach Franco Smith is excited to have new players in the squad.  “There are a couple of new players on tour, like Henco Venter, Jacques du Toit and Marnus van der Merwe and others who will bring new energy and new creativity to the team.”  


“We need to learn how to be more focused, specially thinking of the last three tries we stood of against the Southern Kings.  We would like to come back from tour with a more experience and apply what we’ve learned so far.”  


“We have a good team.  Players in the team work hard, especially with the new players in the squad.  After the last four matches, the hunger is back, the urgency to be the best in their positions - the competitiveness is back and intensity at training is very high.” 


Coach Franco Smith has announced his team for the clash with some changes:    


  • Marnus van der Merwe will be playing his first game in the starting line-up, with Reinach Venter providing cover on the bench. 
  • Jasper Wiese and JP du Preez will be the lock combination.  Sintu Manjezi and Walt Steenkamp will be providing cover on the bench. 
  • Dries Swanepoel will be replacing the injured Benhard Janse van Rensburg and will be starting his first game. 
  • Louis Fouche will be replacing the injured Malcolm Jaer on fullback. 
  • Ox Nche returns to action after sustaining a last minute injury before the match against the Southern Kings. 
  • Henco Venter will be making his return for the Toyota Cheetahs after playing for the Toshiba Brave Lupus in the Japanese Top League.  His last game for the Toyota Cheetahs was in the Guinness PRO14 final series against Scarlets last year.  
  • Due to problems with his visa, Tapiwa Mafura could not travel with the team to Ireland.  He is expected to join the team in Cardiff next week. 



The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury:


Oupa Mohoje (knee),  Jamba Ulenga (neck), Joseph Dweba (hamstring), Malcolm Jaer (knee), Benhard Janse van Rensburg (concussion), Aidon Davis (broken leg).




                                GUINNESS PRO14

                     Connacht vs Toyota Cheetahs

                        The Sportsground, Galway


  1. Charles Marais (34) 
  2. Marnus van der Merwe (2)
  3. Aranos Coetzee (36)
  4. Jasper Wiese (5)
  5. JP du Preez (13)
  6. Abongile Nonkontwana (9)
  7. Junior Pokomela (25)
  8. Gerhard Olivier (14)
  9. Shaun Venter (29)(C)
  10. Tian Schoeman (14)
  11. Rabz Maxwane (12)
  12. Nico Lee (27)
  13. Dries Swanepoel (1) 
  14. William Small-Smith (29)
  15. Louis Fouche (8) 


  1. Reinach Venter (6)
  2. Ox Nche (35)
  3. Luan de Bruin (6)
  4. Sintu Manjezi  (7)
  5. Walt Steenkamp (13)
  6. Henco Venter (17)
  7. Tian Meyer (19)
  8. Rudy Paige (4)


  • Guinness PRO14 caps indicated next the player’s name.  


The referee for the match is Nigel Owens (WRU).  He will be assisted by John Lacey (IRFU) and Mike English (WRU).  The TMO is Brian MacNeice (IRFU).  

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